1 - Power, the essence of the Christian witness

I was startled when I read in Mark 16:8 that the disciples before Jesus ascended to heaven, did not believe. The same unbelief is found in Mark 16:11. Then, two verses later in verse 13, the same four words– they did not believe. Again, in verse 14, the same four words–they did not believe. But what amazes me most is the fact that in the next verse, verse 15, Jesus said to these unbelieving and fearful believers, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” If I had been there, please allow me to say this, I would have approached Jesus from behind and whispered into His ear, “Master, Lord, don’t You know that the disciples You just gave the Supreme Commission to are a bunch of unbelievers? They will never be able to do it.” I think Jesus would have turned around, put His finger over His lips and said quietly to me, “Bonnke, you don’t know that I have a secret.” What was the secret? In verse 20, we read, “They went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the Word through the accompanying signs, Amen.” What happened between verse 14 and verse 20? Chronologically, Acts Chapter 2 happened. The disciples walked out of weakness and arrived at the power to do what Jesus had commissioned them to execute: “But you shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). In the same way, we all can leave weakness and step into unending power. Bible References: Matthew 16:11-20

2 - Jesus was Baptised in the Holy Spirit

Though conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus needed the baptism of the Spirit as He embarked on His ministry. As John the Baptist baptised Jesus in the Jordan, a second baptism took place. The Spirit of God descended on Him, like a dove, not as a flame of fire, because there was nothing to burn in Jesus. The great pattern for Christians is Jesus, and he was baptised in the Holy Spirit. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the same event. The fourth Gospel, John, gives more detail. John the Baptist, the fore-runner of Jesus, declared, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained on Him” (John 1:32). Jesus Himself explained, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel...” (Luke 4:18). Peter, in Acts 10:38, said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.” John the Baptist said a thrilling thing. “He who sent me to baptise with water said to me, ‘Upon Whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining on Him, this is He who baptises with the Holy Spirit’” (John 1:33). Christ had a human experience from God to show what the perfect human experience should be. He was the first of multitudes. He was the first Holy Spirit-baptised man on earth. John 3:34 (NIV) says, “God gives the Spirit without limit.” John 1:16 declares, “Of His fullness have we all received...” That is a wonderful truth—what He received was for us. He was filled for us, and out of His infinite fullness we are filled. Bible References: John 1:32-33, Luke 4:18

3 - The Fire of God in Jesus

To some, it was a place of worship. To others, it was a place of business to make a living by any means necessary. But to the Son, it was His Father’s House–sacred ground and a place of prayer for the salvation, healing and deliverance of the nations. So, out came the whip against the money changers, the thieves and abusers, making the Pharisee's fume with rage and risking His very life. But with the honour of His Father at stake and the deliverance of nations hanging in the balance, He laughed at death because it was all worth it. To the cross He would go if He must. Oh, what a passion! In human experience, God’s fire translates into passion—the type of passion we saw in Jesus. Perhaps He wasn’t only passionate in His words. When Jesus was going to Jerusalem for the last time, we read that He was walking ahead of His disciples. They saw how He urged Himself onward (Mark 10:32). Why? Somehow, the fire in His soul was evident in the way He walked. When they arrived, Jesus saw the desecration of the temple. The disciples then had further evidence of His passionate feelings. His reaction turned Him into an awesome figure. The disciples were reminded of the words of Psalm 69:9: “For zeal for Your house has consumed me...” But it was an anger born out of love, not a cold fury. Jesus was not a frenzied fanatic. He loved His Father’s house, that’s all. It was His desire to see people in the temple, worshipping with freedom and happiness. But commercialism in the temple had spoiled all that. His heart overflowed like a volcano. The fire of the Holy Spirit in His soul made Him cleanse the temple. The children, the blind and the lame stayed though, and He healed them (Matthew 21:14-16). That was what He had wanted to do anyway, and that was the reason His anger achieved furnace- like heat. His indignation aimed for joy. He succeeded—the children ended up singing, “Hosanna!” Bible References: 2:13-17, Mark 10:32

4 - It’s for All

The Holy Spirit is not distributed by lottery, with a few people selected to receive. It is not a game of chance. There are no winners or losers. Those whom God calls, He equips. There is more than enough power to go around. No one is left out, and no one gets leftovers. Don’t disqualify yourself when you are already accepted. The Scriptures are clear and without Vagueness. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is not just for a few of “God’s favourites.” No, God has no “favourites.” In fact, we are all His favourites. On the Day of Pentecost, 120 men and women were in the Upper Room in Jerusalem, and we read in Acts 2:3 and 4, “Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit...” It was no coincidence and NO LOTTERY! “Each” of the 120 received and “all” were filled. Their gender was not a consideration; neither was their age nor race nor status in life. Somebody in heaven must have counted the heads since one flame landed “on each of them.” If you have a head, God has a flame for you. Right now, His count includes you. “You shall receive power...” (Acts 1:8). Just imagine, your head becomes a landing strip for the fire of the Holy Spirit. He lands and abides–never to take off again. Every one of the 120 disciples in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. No one was left out. It was not just for the 12 apostles that we know or that walked closely with Jesus. There were nameless ones that also received. They may not have been famous, but they were faithful. They showed up in the Upper Room and waited for the promise. The Holy Spirit came upon all, and a flame of fire landed on top of all their heads—120 flames for 120 faithful ones. If you show up, you will have a flame of power for your assignment. Bible References: Acts 2:1-4

5 - We are not self-sufficient

We are designed to be dependent on the grace and power of God. Apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Our sufficiency is of Him (2 Corinthians 3:5). God puts His Spirit in us because we need Him to comfort, to guide and even to correct us. He activates His gifts and power in us because we need it for His mission–spiritual equipment for a spiritual assignment. We are not set up in business all on our own with a lump sum of spiritual capital and power resources, making us independent. We are not self-sufficient little “christs.” We receive, moment by moment, “out of” Christ’s fullness our fullness, like the branches of a vine receive sap. We are not vines unto ourselves, living separate existences, but we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). We are not called to go into the entire world with our own little power plant so that people will think how wonderful we are. We could parade our own charisma and make the sparks fly for an hour, but soon our personal power plant will run out of fuel. We are not generators; we are but conductors of His power. Ephesians 1:22 and 23 describes “...the Church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” He is to fill us and move through us. We are channels, not the source. Jesus declared, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4). Bible References: John 15:1-8

6 - Your Original Anointing

You are uniquely created, anointed and appointed by God for His purposes and for your time and season. “As your days, so shall your strength be” (Deuteronomy 33:25). Instead of worrying about what you do not have, focus on what you do have, step out in faith and watch God work through you. On the day of Pentecost, the 120 did not cry for a double anointing. Please note: NOBODY LEFT THE UPPER ROOM WITH TWO FLAMES ON THEIR HEAD. Just “one sat upon each of them” (Acts 2:3). But this one flame represents the whole fire of God—its authority, power and glory. When I travel the world, I am often asked, “Please pray for me; I want your anointing.” My counter- question? “Do you think that if I give you my anointing, I will go home without? Surely not.” But here is a wonderful secret: If you got Reinhard Bonnke’s anointing, you would become a copy of Bonnke. And let me tell you: I personally do not want to be a copy from a copy—and God doesn’t want that for you either. If you want to know something about the character of God, just consider nature. Over 7.5 billion human beings do not have the same fingerprints, and no two leaves of any tree have the same structure. Why? Because God is not a duplicator—He is the Creator. He only produces ORIGINALS and operates no duplicating machine. Your flame on your head is so personal that it bears your name. It is custom-made for you only. It would not fit anybody else. Nobody on earth can serve God exactly as you! You are unique—and so is your anointing! Bible References: Psalm 139:14, Deuteronomy 33:25, Acts 2:3

7 - No More Ordinary

The Divine fire that comes from the baptism of the Holy Spirit changes your status from ordinary to extraordinary. You take on a Divine mandate and assignment so that you no longer live for yourself; you surrender your fears and ambitions and take on a Divine purpose. You become a chosen vessel. Moses had seen bushes and shrubs every day for 40 years. He did not go around gazing at or studying bushes. Wilderness bushes are not fascinating, cultivated, colourful or blossoming. They are quite unbeautiful. But God took one of them, very ordinary by itself, and made it extraordinary. It burst into flames—but was not consumed (Exodus 3:2). Then He spoke from it—the voice from the burning bush. Moses, in a way, was like the bush—ordinary and even of a lower grade. He was just a piece of driftwood—a fugitive murderer hiding from justice with no future. He was a mere shepherd, and “all shepherds are detestable to the Egyptians” (Genesis 46:34 NIV). Moses saw that bush burning without it turning to ash. He had no idea that this was a life-changing moment. Curious, he turned aside to see it, gazing at it in fascination. Then, a Divine flame leaped from the bush and transferred into his very soul. Moses, a mortal, became a Flame Man. “He makes...His servants flames of fire” (Hebrews 1:7 NIV). On that day, when you turn aside to see the burning bush, you will no longer be ordinary. “Evangelism is a fiery chariot with a burning messenger, preaching a blazing Gospel on wheels of fire! Allow the Holy Spirit to make your life His chariot.” Reinhard Bonnke Bible References: Exodus 3:1-6