July 2018 Newsletter
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When we surrender our senses to our Creator, He enhances them.
By James Goll
Each of us needs to become a discerner—no matter what our personal background or specific gift or function in the body of Messiah. Although some believers are especially gifted as prophets, every follower of Jesus receives the gifts of revelation and discernment. And every believer needs to use them! In fact, without discernment and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, we cannot progress in our use of any of the gifts and callings.
As a kid growing up in a small town in Missouri, I loved watching programs on our little black-and-white television set. I would watch them for as long as I was allowed, and the picture never seemed dull, lifeless, or lacking in clarity. But when we upgraded to a color TV, suddenly the programs came alive to me in a new way.
Once upon a time, my Christian life looked a lot like our old black-and-white television. The programming and reception were not too bad, and I thought things were going along fine. Then everything shifted unexpectedly, and I have never wanted to go back. Here is what happened.
For some time, I had been getting various brief mental snapshots and I would notice for a millisecond and think, Where did that come from? What was that? It was as if my senses were waking up. Occasionally, I seemed to be able to look deep into a person’s being and discern something that would never appear to the naked eye.
I remember the first time it occurred. I met a particular church leader, and it was as if I could see diamonds glistening inside his mind, while at the same time I knew what that image meant. I thought about how we all have the mind of Messiah Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 2:16), and I could tell that this man had God’s spirit of wisdom to an exceptional degree. I also felt that this godly wisdom would be used to benefit both the church and secular government.
It was like beginning to see in color instead of in black-and-white. Or, to use the analogy from Hebrews 5:14, it was like growing out of being a baby who drinks only milk, and sampling solid food instead.
I began to believe that God had more for me, and I started to pay attention to the new “solid foods” He was sending my way—sampling their taste, smell, texture and appearance, and noticing how they made me feel. I compared my experiences to those of others whom I read about in the Bible or heard about. I wanted to know what was from God and what was from my own imagination or some other source.
Purposely Offer Your Senses
Each of us has been equipped with five natural senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. (There is also something called “common sense,” which some of us seem to lack!)
The first step in beginning to discern God’s communications with us entails purposely offering our senses to Him. Unless we do this—on an ongoing basis—we will not be able to grow into the maturity of Messiah
Jesus. If we do not give ourselves to Him intentionally, it will be very difficult to know what He wants us to know and therefore difficult to follow Him obediently.
When we surrender our senses to our Creator, He enhances them. Divine input gets “downloaded” less sluggishly than before. As we practice connecting with Him, He increases our capacity for more. What used to seem impossible becomes achievable. More than that, it is just plain fun! Hearing from God is a perpetual source of pure joy!
Some people call this “activating your senses,” and it is that. But you cannot activate your senses on your own; you must activate them by presenting them to the One who created them and activate them for His purposes, in love.
As your senses are activated, you might start receiving “snapshot visions” in your mind’s eye, as I did. You might feel God’s emotions of anger or compassion. A word or a phrase might come to your mind. Or you might sense or even smell that something is “off.” Huh? you think. What could this mean?
The process of figuring out these communications from God consists of trial and error, just like learning to ride a bicycle. As a father, I remember helping all four of my kids learn to ride a bike, running alongside them with my hand on their back until they could stay up on their own for a few yards. They were so excited when they could finally do it, and when they fell down, I would help them back up.
Likewise, to practice using your senses to discern good and evil will involve some falls. You will not be able to get everything right every time. You might step out boldly, thinking that you are obeying God, only to lose your train of thought, make an incorrect assumption, or get embarrassed. Just remember: God loves it every time you step out and practice. And practice pays off!
Even in their maturity, people who are spiritual giants and who move in a high level of anointing for healing make mistakes. They miss it, and that is okay because it keeps them humble. If they are the “real deal,” they will never give up. They will keep practicing, and they will keep cooperating with the Holy Spirit, activating their senses and reaching for the next possibility.
Present Yourself to God
You can declare freedom to your own body, soul and spirit. You can speak to your sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, saying, “Senses, become unlocked in the name of Jesus. I declare that you are no longer captive to the patterns of the past; instead, I present you to the one true and holy God for reclamation and purification.”
Your physical sense of hearing will become enhanced with a spiritual sense of hearing, and you will begin to hear things from a divine dimension that you have never heard before. Your ordinary sense of sight will become enriched with a spiritual sight by which, as God directs, you will be enabled to see beyond the limits of human vision. Depending on your unique mix of God-given capabilities, your other senses will wake up and take notice of messages they could not perceive before. A whole new world will open up to you.
Prayer of a Discerning Heart
I invite you to join me in a prayer of surrender to the Holy Spirit as we expect our senses to become activated and sharpened for Jesus’ sake: Here I am, Lord. All that I am and all that I hope to be, I surrender to You. I present to You my body, soul and spirit with all of their natural and supernatural senses. May they be useful to You as instruments for accomplishing Your will on earth. For Jesus’ sake and in His name, amen.
James W. Goll is the president of God Encounters Ministries and has traveled around the world sharing the love of Jesus, imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit.
We were her only lifeline
I just had an amazing visitor—it was so God! Here is how it happened. I got a call the other day from a dentist who had my cell phone number. He told me that he was at a conference sitting next to a woman from China and that she was coming to visit me the next day with a gift. We set up the appointment. But what is the chance this woman who had traveled all the way from China would just happen to sit next to someone who had my private cell number? I thought, This must be a very special divine appointment.
The next day when she arrived at my office, the first thing I noticed was she exuded humility. Then she told me her story. A few years ago, she had become a believer in Jesus and began attending a Baptist church. She loved God, but was feeling spiritually empty. She said she was smiling on the outside but on the inside she was dying!
One night she found It’s Supernatural! on YouTube and became “addicted” to the show, watching episodes for hours every day. Today, she looks like the happiest woman on earth. We were her only lifeline. Through the mentoring of our TV show, she got baptized in the Holy Spirit and now speaks in tongues all the time. She moves in an amazing prophetic gift. In fact, she gave me a very accurate prophecy.
This woman started an illegal house church in China and is the pastor. She uses our shows each week to prepare a message for her house church. She has a deep love for the Jewish people and Israel. She even learned how to tithe from watching our show and took up an offering of $777 from the members of her church in support of Jewish evangelism. I knew they had next to nothing and at first felt I should have given her an offering. But I realized this was God’s way of blessing her church, so I gratefully accepted the sacrificial gift. She is not like most American Christians. She has died to self and lives only for God.
Then she floored me by saying, “China needs your show in Chinese.” I was affected so deeply in my spirit that we immediately found a Chinese translator and are preparing to start a YouTube channel with episodes of our TV show in Chinese. I see an army of selfless Chinese believers evangelizing the world!
My passion is to also equip you to move in signs and wonders to earn the right to proclaim the Gospel to nonbelievers, to the Jew first. This was the method of evangelism for the first church. How much more should it be for the end-time church? One of the greatest needs for the church at this crucial moment in history is discernment. We must be able to discern God’s voice from the enemy’s voice. It is life critical as God warns us in 1 Timothy 4:1 (NLT): Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.
My friend James Goll says if you fine-tune the gift of discernment, it will activate and increase all the other gifts. James himself has battled several life threatening cancers. He should have died many times. I believe God spared him to mentor you in discernment. His new book, The Discerner, and 3-CD series, You Can Be a Discerner, are “must” teaching as you, like my new friend from China, pour your prayers and finances into Jewish evangelism. Watch God take your prayers and resources and fulfill Isaiah 27:6 (MEV) before our eyes: In the days to come Jacob shall take root; Israel shall blossom and bud and shall fill the whole world with fruit.
Together we will help bring in the great Jewish harvest that will be the catalyst for the greatest Gentile revival in history!