Holy Ghost Joy, Part 1

HOLY GHOST JOY 

 PART ONE

Fresh Fire Ministries

www.freshfire.ca

 

 

Listen! We have a Father in heaven who laughs! Written in the Word is a psalm that tells us that “He who sits in the heavens laughs…” (Ps. 2:4). In the context of treachery and deception, right in the middle of the nations making an uproar and conspiring against the Lord Himself (v. 1-2), what does God do? He laughs!! I think we can learn something from this. Is it possible to be filled with joy and even laughter when the enemy tries to disrupt our lives? I believe the answer is, “Yes”!

The Word also says, “A merry heart does good like a medicine” (Prov. 17:22). Don’t you feel great when you’re filled with joy? I sure do! God wants us to taste His goodness in the “land of the living” (Ps. 27:13). Because of His steadfast dependable character (Heb. 13:8), plus the fact that He is for us (so who can be against us—Rom. 8:31), we can be filled with great joy.

And yes, there is a very serious side to our Father in heaven—He doesn’t laugh at sin and injustice. However, today I want to emphasize the joyful side of God’s personality as well as His desire that we be joyful, too. I hope that today the Word of God will tear down any thoughts that are trying to stop us from drinking from the river of life.

Before we discuss different aspects of being filled with the joy of the Lord and receiving from the Holy Spirit, I want to invite you to pray with me:

Holy Spirit, I pray for the joy, the wine, the music, the dancing and the freedom that is in the Father’s house.

Father, we sense that You are laughing at what the devil thinks he’s going to do against You and against Your anointed ones. I pray today that Your laughter will bring great change, breaking the power of sickness and bondage, in the name of Jesus. And we ask for a release upon us of holy laughter and prophetic laughter. May freedom, healing and deliverance come out of Your laughter and our joy.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

WE FEEL OUR FEELINGS!

Laughter is refreshing to the soul. And it erupts easily when we receive good news. But when we receive sad or bad news about something, if we don’t choose to see God’s hand in the situation, the news can literally “bring us down.” So we surely need God’s perspective. An outpouring of His wine and oil not only helps us to see His hand, it also helps us to stand in faith on His word. There is power in the Word of God! (Heb. 4:12). No wonder the gospel is also called the “good news!”

When we’re basking in the goodness of God and tasting the wine of His presence it’s a great blessing—something we don’t take for granted. “And wine that makes glad the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread which strengthens man's heart” (Ps. 104:15). But when we’re in a meeting where it seems like everyone but “me” is jumping into the river receiving God’s blessings, it is so discouraging!

There are people who can’t receive the fullness of everything that God wants to give. For instance, they could be in one of the greatest meetings that the Father ever orchestrated, and yet, they leave empty and dry. I believe this happens to people because their mindset has been adversely affected by their difficult experiences in church and religion.

Listen. We’re not supposed to be living life feeling all parched and cracked! God wants us to be filled up with His joy. He wants our “mindset” completely saturated in the truth about who He is and how much He loves us. And we can only be convinced about God’s goodness by the Spirit of God. If we didn’t have feelings about what the Spirit of God is doing in our lives, we couldn’t come to Christ. The Bible says no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them by the Spirit of God (John 6:44, 63).

We need God to help us have a revelation of His love and with this revelation there is grace also to feel the conviction that we need to repent from sin. Listen. God is into moving on (touching) our feelings. He wants us to feel His presence, to feel His love and to feel His joy. Then He wants us to release back to Him the same kind of emotions that we share with our husband, wife or friend.

Most of us don’t seem to have a problem with releasing and expressing our emotions (concerning having fun and all the other things that happen in our emotions) with others. But when it comes to God, there’s little room for emotions. Many think that with God it’s always serious and always work and so they really struggle with anybody having fun in church. In their eyes coming into the presence of God has to be with a purpose such as praying or interceding, reading the Bible, praying in tongues or worshipping.

 

RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT

Some believers struggle with letting themselves enter into the fullness of everything God wants to give them. The need to let go and allow themselves to receive whatever God wants to give them and not feel guilty about what I call “emotions” and “pleasure,” when it comes to God.

You know, before the disciples were released to share the gospel, Jesus met with them (soon after His crucifixion) and said, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (John 20:21). When Jesus said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (v. 22). He breathed on the disciples, giving them the Holy Ghost.

He released the outpouring and the presence of the Spirit of God. It’s important to realize that when He breathed on them saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” that the disciples had to deliberately choose to receive the Holy Spirit. There is a distinction between being in the presence of God and actually truly receiving the Holy Spirit.

Many of us have been taught that we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). “Don’t run after feelings and being moved by what you feel. Rather, only be moved by the Word of God and by what you think or discern.” That’s a half-truth. Also, some Christians say, “We believe in the Word of God but we’re not walking by feelings. We don’t need to feel the joy of the Lord and laugh or feel “drunk” to know that we have joy. We believe that we have joy.”

Well, I believe real Bible-faith is receiving and experiencing everything we say we believe. Perhaps those who say they have joy by way of faith and that they don’t need to feel it (and don’t need to laugh or show any manifestations of that joy) think that they are more mature than that. Maybe they think: You just go at it by faith. You walk by faith and not by sight. Well I say there’s more. Real faith should bring us into manifestations of joy as well as experiencing the joy of the Lord.

But we’ve been taught that the manifestations, the feelings and the emotions of anything that God is doing (in revival) are wrong. With that kind of attitude, we automatically put a block in our mind and in our spirit which makes us unable to receive the Holy Spirit. Then it won’t matter where we go to try and have God breathe on us (Argentina, Toronto or Pensacola) because nothing will happen. No matter how much the Spirit of God is moving we won’t be able to receive it.

One of the reasons for this is because we’ve been taught that it’s wrong to experience “manifestations” of the Holy Spirit. A manifestation might look something like this: a believer can’t walk straight, or even walk at all for that matter because sometimes when the Holy Spirit comes upon us it’s like being full of the wine of His presence.

If you’re asking yourself why you’re having such a hard time entering into the fullness of what everyone else seems to be entering into, it may just be because of what you’ve been taught. “I have to walk by faith. I better not walk by feelings or by sight. That’s emotionalism and hype. God isn’t into my emotions or into pleasure.” That’s wrong thinking. God has more for us than just having a “dry” mindset like that. Let’s truly receive the Holy Spirit, whichever way He wants to touch us.

 

WE NEED A REVELATION!

I’ve seen believers in a meeting when God’s presence is being poured out. One minute they’re experiencing and enjoying the fullness of everything the river of God is doing and then all of a sudden they’re like a sergeant! “Okay! That’s enough of that! Let’s get back to business.”

Let’s get back to business? Hey! They were already having business! In fact, the Bible says that at His right hand are pleasures forevermore. “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps. 16:11). As I said earlier, I believe that we need to experience everything that we say that we believe in the Bible. I believe that God is an emotional God and that He is a God with feelings. We need to just be quiet and receive and just have a revelation that He wants to fill us up with the Holy Spirit.

The first step in being free to receive what God wants to give us involves having a revelation that God wants to give to us. When we have a revelation of the filling of the Holy Ghost and just how full God wants us to be, then all of a sudden we don’t feel guilty anymore about dropping the mindset of only walking by faith and not by sight. For example, I remember when I first started to come into renewal I felt guilty for laughing all night and being like I was drunk in the spirit. I didn’t worship or pray in tongues and so in the natural it didn’t look like I did anything productive. I didn’t do the works of Christianity. But nowhere in the Bible does it ever say how to do church and that we must preach a (45 minute) message. God didn’t want me to feel guilty because I didn’t do anything “productive.” I was set free.

When we’re set free we’ll have a revelation about emotions and pleasures being essential to real faith and we’ll have enough faith to actually experience what we say we believe. Faith and the joy of the Lord mean that we should be experiencing the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord has a “look” to it! We don’t just stand around with a stony face and say, “I got the joy brother! Just because I’m not laughing like the rest of you doesn’t mean that I don’t have joy. I don’t have to laugh or be noisy. I have joy. Can’t you see I’m happy? Look how happy I am!”

Then there are people who really do want to receive. “ I believe it. I want to receive and experience the joy of the Lord.” But they still can’t get beyond the mindset of what they’ve been taught for years and years—feeling guilty for any sort of pleasure. They’re stuck thinking that somehow pleasure is sin. They need a revelation about God’s love and about the river of God!

 

THE RIVER OF GOD'S PLEASURES

When I discovered in God’s word that He has a “river of pleasures,” I said, “That’s it! I’m in there!” In the middle of one of David’s psalms where he describes the Lord’s loving-kindness, he says, “They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures” (Ps. 36:8). God wants us to drink from His river of pleasures! Wow!

Paul the apostle also speaks about drinking, although somewhat differently. He says in Ephesians 5:18: “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.” It’s like he is saying, “Don’t be under the influence and control of intoxicating drink which will cause you to act in ways that are contrary to your character. [Some of you remember what it was like to get drunk and come under the intoxicating drink of the world—how foolish you were. “God, that’s not me. I don’t act like that! Don’t let me ever be like that again. I’m done with that drinking. ”] He is saying,” Go ahead and be filled with the Spirit. Go ahead and be so filled with the Holy Spirit that you are under the influence and control of the Spirit of God to the point that you can’t help but do what is the nature of Christ (but is contrary to your nature).” Now you are under His control. You’re under the influence! You find yourself doing what’s right—righteousness. With boldness you can’t help but tell people about Jesus. You’re full of the new wine of the Holy Ghost. You’re full of the joy.

That’s why Paul puts it in the context of: “do not be drunk with wine …but be filled with the Spirit.” It’s like he’s telling the Ephesians (and us) to go ahead and be under the influence and control of the Holy Ghost and the new wine because the fuller we are, the more we can’t help but do what Jesus wants us to do. The words “be filled” mean to constantly come; come again and again and again and be filled. It can actually become easy for us to receive!

Let’s not ever stay stuck at the place where we think: I better stop drinking now! I better get serious and get some “business” done. That’s enough of experiencing some emotions and feeling that wine. The fact is, we’re empowered to overcome wrong attitudes when we get a revelation of just how deeply God wants to give to us! And the disciples needed this revelation, too!

 

BE SET FREE!

There was an appointed time when God poured out His Spirit on the believers and disciples after Jesus’ resurrection. That outpouring wasn’t merely a small gust of wind and a little lick of fire. No, the Holy Spirit came as a violent rushing wind and a tongue of fire rested on each disciple (Acts 2:2-3). Everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (v. 4). Their filling with the Holy Spirit was promised by Jesus: “For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:5). That word “baptized” (in 1:5) in the Greek is baptizo. It’s interesting that one of the first places in ancient writing that we find baptizo is an old recipe for making pickles! Have you ever pickled cucumbers? In goes a cucumber and out comes dill! We’re talking about transformation—all pickled with the Holy Ghost.

After the believers were filled with the Holy Spirit they appeared to be drunk so Peter took his stand and told the people, “For these are not drunk as you suppose…” (Acts 2:15) but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel (v. 16). Because they were all filled head to toe with the Spirit of God, they began to speak with other tongues and the first manifestation of “do not be drunk with wine but be filled with the Holy Ghost” happened to come out with emotions. It happened to come out with wine. It happened to come out filled with the Spirit to such a level that the people accused them of being drunk.

I still know people today that say, “Peter wasn’t talking about drunkenness. I wish all those renewal, revival preachers would stop distorting the passage of Scripture in Acts 2 by saying they were drunk. They weren’t drunk. The reason people thought they were drunk is because they were praying funny tongues.” That’s an argument that some believers will use to say that this passage of Scripture can’t be used to support that the filling of the Holy Ghost and drunkenness and laughter are connected. But that’s not true.

Each and every person that heard the disciples speak, heard their own particular language spoken perfectly—so it wasn’t a bunch of “babble”. If it was babble, then that would be a good reason to accuse them of being drunk. But that wasn’t it. So there had to be a different manifestation happening that caused the people to say they were drunk. I believe they were staggering and probably had big smiles on their face. They were full of the power of God and Peter had to say, “No, we’re not drunk! It’s 9 o’clock in the morning.” So, the first time you see them being filled with the Holy Ghost, God does it with wine which involves laughter and joy and emotion and pleasure.

It’s notable that later when Paul says, “be filled” (Eph. 5:18) it’s like he’s saying, “Keep having that Acts 2 experience. You never need to feel guilty about being filled (or being under the influence of the Spirit of God and so full of the new wine of the Holy Ghost) that you can’t help but to do miracles and tell people about Jesus.” As a matter of fact, we just constantly see the words “full of the Holy Ghost” and “filled” recorded in the book of Acts (whereby the believers were filled with the Holy Ghost as they ministered). We see in Acts 2 they were filled the Holy Ghost, and then in Acts 3, Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost speaks to the people about their rejection of Jesus and tells them to repent and be saved. Acts 4: 31 says, “And when they had prayed the place where they were assembled together was shaken and they were filled with the Holy Ghost and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” In Acts 6:10 and 7:55 we see Stephen filled with the Holy Ghost.

You see, that’s what happened to me. I got so powerfully hit with renewal and with the Acts 2 kind of experience that even now I don’t know how I got to where I am in ministry. I’m here. I just drank so much, got so under the influence of the Spirit of God and had the power of the Holy Ghost fill me so much that now I’m empowered by the Spirit of God to do righteousness. I’ve come to realize that as long as I stay full of the Holy Ghost I can overcome that old carnal nature that wants to do contrary to what God wants me to do.

Listen. I believe that we just need to wake up each day determined to drink and get full of the Holy Spirit. Then if the pressures come, we don’t be snappy and defensive. And we’ll be able to really pray because we’ll be full of the manifest glory and not striving in the flesh, all dry and cracked!

So we need to be set free of that mindset that says we can only receive just so much from God and then we have to stop and get back to the duties and works of Christianity. We need to be set free to receive. Remember, when Jesus breathed the Holy Ghost on the disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit,” they had to deliberately receive the Holy Spirit. By cooperating with God, that act of deliberately receiving the Holy Spirit set them free. Listen! When we cooperate with God we’ll be set free, too!

In part 2 we will discover some of the ways that we can drink and be filled with the joy of the Lord so that we’re set free to share about His goodness with the lost (2 Cor. 5:20).

 

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