I think I’m afraid of the Holy Spirit – Maria’s Reflections at ISM

You know in The Chronicles of Narnia when the children first hear about Aslan (the character which C.S. Lewis made to represent Jesus Christ)? The conversation goes something like this:

“Ooh!” said Susan, …”Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”

“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else silly.”

“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.

“Safe? Said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Knowledge is power and with great power comes great responsibility. Once I know the power of God, once I open my life to greater degrees of the Holy Spirit, I can’t claim ignorance. I have to follow whatever crazy road God leads me to and enter the doors He swings open. Good, but not safe.

Throughout my time preparing to come to ISM, I prayed that God would humble me, change the way I think, and build in me a faith that can LITERALLY move mountains…. Be careful what you pray for.

Here at ISM the leaders have experienced so many amazing things and I was instantly humbled hearing from their lives and stories. They began talking about the untamable power of the Holy Spirit and their desire for us to live not just a natural Christian life, but a supernatural Christian life: heal the sick, perform miracles, prophesy, cast out demons, etc. God was pressing on my heart and confirming in His word that he wanted me to take bigger, faster leaps than I ever had before and to not resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:21). So I was baptized in the Holy Spirit. A few days later Sandra and Joel had prayed over each student for deliverance from specific and intimate strongholds in our lives. That night, after an an awesome experience of victory over spiritual warfare (see Heidi’s blog) I began sharing with my roommates about a stronghold I had shared with Sandra and Joel: horrible memories and images that Satan used to haunt me. Heidi told me how God had supernaturally erased some of the memories she had struggled with and asked if she could pray over me for God to delete these memories. I was willing and excited at the idea that Satan would never be able to use these memories to weaken me again. So Heidi held my head and began to pray and our other roommate agreed with her in prayer. Soon after Heidi began to pray, my head began to fill with what could only be the Holy Spirit, I felt an indescribable physical sensation and my neck could not hold up my head anymore so I laid backwards. I was perfectly conscious, but not normal. You may know it as being “slain in the Spirit.” While God was doing this miraculous work in me, I heard another presence sending doubt-filled accusations within my thoughts: “This isn’t real,” “you’re getting caught up in the emotion,” “the people who already think you’ve lost it are going to condemn you for this one”, etc…. Because God had instilled in me a trust for ONLY God’s word I knew to combat lies with truth so I began to respond: “No that isn’t true! God is capable of miracles! He can do the supernatural! Jesus touched a blind man with mud and his eyes were healed (John 9). He raised Lazarus back to life (John 11). A woman touched His cloak and was healed (Mark 5) The Holy Spirit raised HIM back to life (Romans 8:11)! …. You’re lying. This is God. It agrees with Scripture!” As I listed scriptural truths I felt strength, joy and confidence increasing within me. After a time, the Holy Spirit lifted and I was able to sit up again. It occurred to me that I had just experienced a mini version of what Jesus went through when the Holy Spirit led him into the desert (Luke 4).

So did it work you ask? Well I wondered the same thing… I’m unfortunately a bit of a Gideon when it comes to trusting God sometimes (praise the Lord He knows me well and extends his grace and love regardless, haha). The next day I had the overwhelming temptation to test and see if I could find that memory again. As our leader closed the session in prayer, I almost was able to see that image again when the bright light came back, my head grew heavy and the same sensation came over me, making my memory go blank. When our leader finished praying he clapped, the Spirit lifted. Heidi told me not to poke at what God is doing, and I had to confess to God she was right. I was testing Him. I prayed, “How can I resist this ridiculously big temptation to test and see if the memory is still there?” Then God reminded me that just like the night before, Satan tested Jesus in exactly the same way: “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here” (Luke 4:9). And what was Jesus’ response? “Jesus answered, ‘It says: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” So I went home and read Deuteronomy 6. I praise God for He is truly breaking chains and tearing down strongholds in my life. Though I will certainly need more time to process everything that has gone down in the past three weeks, this I know for sure: God knew all that would happen before any of us stepped foot in Bangkok, God is opening up my heart and mind to embrace the fullness of His power, sovereignty and glory, God wants me to dream bigger with Him than I have ever dreamed before, and He’s convicting me that I will NEVER be able to accomplish those big dreams if I resist the Holy Spirit.

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ISM IS OPEN!

Yesterday we held the GRAND OPENING of ISM.  It was a celebration of a dream fulfilled and an exciting beginning with 9 amazing students from Canada and the USA.  We were honoured to have guests from Thailand Pentecostal Seminary (where our school is located), our Advisory Council, Pastor Eizenga and Walt Semeniuk from Waterloo Pentecostal Church in Waterloo Ontario.

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The students and staff of ISM!

It’s so amazing to already see the student’s desire to grow and be stretched. We see them as treasures of immeasurable worth!  The are strong, brave and courageous!   

 

Every morning we start with worship and prayer.  This week they are learning about Culture, Contexualization, the Thai Language, Ethnocentrism, Sharing the Gospel in an another culture, hearing from a Thai leader about what it’s like to have missionaries in your nation – the good the bad and hopefully not the too ugly 🙂

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Morning Worship

We are heading out to a Thai restaurant tonight, the Grand Palace tomorrow and practicing basic Thai in the markets.  We will also be ministering at NightLight’s cell group and a Children’s Home on Sunday.

God has great things in store for these students!   We believe the best is yet to come.

 

Sandra McIntosh

Planes, Trains and Automobiles – Laura Fess

RE-BLOGGED

Woooow I can’t believe the day is finally here. Today I embark on the greatest adventure of my life. Where do I begin?

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I woke up at 4AM to make sure I had enough time to get ready and finish packing some last minute items. My lovely friend Sabrina stayed for a sleepover so once my dad loaded the car we were off to the London Airport. I must say it was quite amazing to look down on the city of London to see all the lights lit up at 6 AM and pray “Lord may your will be done in London as it is in heaven”. I am currently waiting 4 hours in Chicago to catch my next flight to Tokyo. That flight will last about 12 hours. We stop to refuel & head to our final destination, Bangkok Thailand (about a 5 hour flight).

I am sooooo excited for this journey! I truly believe that something significant happened this morning when I stepped onto that first plane. Leaving the past behind and moving on/stepping into something new. I was in high school a global worker came to Royalview. While at the alter he came and spoke something very significant over my life I will never forget. Not knowing anything about me he told me “the Lord has a place for you in ministry that looks very much different than your brothers” (Ironically he is a global worker in the nation of Thailand, funny how we serve a God of humor). That was the day I believe the Lord sparked something in my heart towards global missions. I am privileged to have traveled the world. While I have seen poverty & oppression my heart is still burdened for the nation of Canada and I am reminded of the mission field that I have at home.

As I sit in the airport trying not to burst into tears I know that God has me strategically placed where I am for this season in my life. I do not know what the future holds, but that’s ok. I have to constantly remind myself of that. God wants good for me and His plans are great. Sometimes it is hard to understand where or why He is taking us down the path He is but in the end He is faithful and He WILL get ALL the honor and Glory.

We serve a great God!

Blessings,

Laura

Check out Laura’s Blog www.laurajfess.wordpress.com