May 23, 2020

"He Opened Their Minds" - Ascension

(see John Gishler Youtube channel for the video service)

We all have trouble understanding how things work in the supernatural dimension. We see this all through the Bible and in our own time:
·      Prophets are ridiculed, ignored, persecuted
·      Disciples do not understand what’s happening
·      Christian Church is divided and confused over doctrine

The Good News of Ascension is that Jesus / Holy Spirit will open our minds so we can understand the scriptures.

1. Jesus promised believers will be baptized by Holy Spirit

In Acts 1.1-11 this is conditional on staying together in Jerusalem. Jesus knows there will be spiritual opposition and temptations to power that will divide the Church. Spirit-filled / “born again” people naturally cling together because they are different from other people and there is great spiritual power in unity:
·      Promise is a new and different spiritual life
·      Promise is spiritual gifts / spiritual power that will open our spiritual eyes and give us wisdom and knowledge
·      Same spiritual power that raised Jesus to His eternal spiritual life will raise us to our new eternal spiritual life
·      Power is to be used to “witness to the ends of the earth”

2. Paul prays for a spirit of wisdom and revelation

In Ephesians 1.15-23 Paul is praying that the “eyes of their hearts will be opened”. This is the same prayer I pray daily for my entire family. Without this spiritual help it is impossible for us to really understand how things work in the supernatural dimension:
·      I speak from over 25 years of ministry experience
·      The challenge is that Holy Spirit respects our free will
·      Holy Spirit must be seriously invited
·      But must be a believer to seriously invite – catch 22
·      Problem is we are all sceptics and have an enemy Satan (that we don’t believe in) who blinds us spiritually
·      My discovery of the psychological process of self-deception was a critical step in my spiritual growth
·      Constantly amazed how hard it is to get people to actually read my book “Going Spiritual” - written to help them understand self-deception and the supernatural dimension
·      Personal experience of healing miracles and other supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to be essential to serious Christian faith
·      Why Paul prays for the “eyes of their hearts to be opened”
·      Should be job # 1 for the Church – but sadly isn’t

3. Good News is if we ask from our heart we will receive Holy Spirit

For many of us it takes a crisis to blast us out of our delusions and resistance to surrendering control of our life to Jesus. I share my own experience of a divorce crisis in “Going Spiritual”. For me it was a desperate cry from the heart for help in a difficult situation. I was separated but still legally married to one woman and had fallen in love with another.
·      My actual prayer was “HELP!!! / HELP NOW!!!
·      Experienced a baptism of Holy Spirit - had my spiritual eyes opened to a new understanding of the scriptures
·      Led to seeking ordination, asking for and receiving other powerful spiritual gifts and a spiritual life of joy
·      Downside was having a different worldview than most of my family and friends, scaring them and feeling rejected
·      Way forward is to live more fully “in-Christ”:
o    Give up our dependence on human reason
o   Surrender our will to the Holy Spirit
o   Immerse ourselves in the scriptures, prayer for protection and a spiritual community
o   Only do what the Holy Spirit directs

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