The Power of Divine Anointing

Sept. 25, 2015 Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Session Transcript

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: I told the women in the pre-conference this morning that something I've prayed many times over the years is that the Lord would never let me get to the place where what I do in ministry would come easily for me. And that is a prayer He has been very faithful to answer [laughter], because no matter how long I do this, no matter how much of it I've done, I come to any setting like this with a sense of fearful, awesome responsibility and weight and neediness, dependence on the Lord.

And I think there are no sweeter words that we can say to the Lord—maybe to tell Him we love Him is certainly sweet, to tell Him that we praise Him—but also to say, "I need You." Because what does God do for needy people? What does God do for the humble, those who know they don't have what it takes? God pours, what? Grace on the humble.

And what is God's grace? It's the desire and the power to do what God has called us to do.

So as long as I think I can do this . . . I sometimes have the sense that God's sitting up in heaven going, "You think you can do this? Go ahead; try." In fact, it's not just that. God doesn't just leave us alone. When we become self-reliant or proud or think that we can handle this . . . what does God's Word say He does to proud people? He resists them. That word is He sets Himself in battle array against them.

Now I don't know about you, but I don't want to do what God has called me to do with God working against me. He's bigger than I am. But He pours grace into the humble.

So don't let the fact that you feel inadequate and needy keep you from doing what God has set you apart to do. But do it with a spirit of humility and always this constant, conscious sense that, "I cannot do this without You. Every hour, I need You. Every moment, every day for every task."

I cannot tell you how many times I've come to a ministry assignment, small or large, on the platform or off, and thought, I can't do this. I cannot do this. Lord, I need Your grace. I need Your power. I need Your strength. I need Your Holy Spirit.

"That's what I was hoping you'd ask." And then He comes, He fills, He anoints, He empowers, and He enables.

And who gets the glory? We can't take it because we know, "I didn't do this. I couldn't pull this off. I wasn't smart enough. I wasn't gifted enough. I wasn't ready enough. God is the One."

We stand back in awe, and we give glory to Him, and that's what He deserves.

I want to kind of pick up on that theme in a two-part message this afternoon and evening. And let me start by reading a verse from 1 Thessalonians 1. In fact, if you have your little handout here, if you'll open to this, this will be useful for you in this session and the one tonight.

The apostle Paul said to the believers in Thessalonica (Thessaloniki, as they say it in Greece), "Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction" (v. 5).

Now there are many other such verses in the Scripture, but when I read a verse like that, something in me gets really deep longing.

He says, "We preached the gospel. The gospel is powerful. We preached the gospel to you, not only in word. Not just words."

Have you ever heard teachers that you thought, This is just words. It's good stuff. It's true stuff. The subject is powerful, but what's happening in the room and in the listener, it's just words. It's in one ear, out another. It's not having impact. It's like just sliding off a Teflon. It's not making a difference.

Now there can be a lot of different reasons for that. Sometimes it's in the condition of the hearer. Sometimes it's in the condition of the speaker. But Paul says there's an alternate way. "Our gospel came to you not just in word." It did come in word. There were words used to communicate. But he said it also came "in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction."

I've done a lot of thinking now in, literally, fifty years of teaching the Word—forty-nine years. I told the women this morning that I taught my first Sunday school class when I was eight years old. That teacher let me do that. I don't know what she was thinking. But I was hooked. I knew I loved God's Word, and I found that I loved teaching the Word of God.

I've done a lot of thinking about the difference between ministry that is . . . this ministry may be large audiences, platform, but it may be just the ministry you have to your children in your home, in discipling one-on-one, and counseling others. However God has called you to communicate truth to others, the difference between ministry that is only in word and ministry that is in the power of the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. And I think that difference is critical in our day. It's critical in every day.

I want to talk to you this afternoon and this evening about a neglected aspect of ministering the Word to others. I want to use a term that you don't hear very often in our evangelical world today, and some of the ways we've heard it used in some circles has not been in a biblical sense. It's the word anointing. The anointing of the Holy Spirit.

I want to talk about the divine anointing. I want us to take time to consider what it is, what it means, why it's important, what it looks like, and how we can have it.

As we think about anointing in the Scripture, it's used in different ways. Sometimes it's used just as a mark of hospitality as a host will anoint his guests. You read this in Luke 7. You read it in Psalm 23, "He anoints my head with oil," as God is the ultimate host who anoints our heads.

But wherever anointing is done, you see the symbol of oil, anointing with oil. You read it many different times in the Scripture. That oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. And throughout the Scripture, the anointing with oil imparted something that the person did not have prior to being anointed.

The anointing with the physical oil imparted an endowment, an enduement, an empowering of the Spirit of God. So that person, once anointed, became something that they weren't previously. They became different. There was a power, there was a resource, there was a conviction. It was the Holy Spirit coming upon and in and filling and using that person in a way that had not been true previously.

Now we would have to have a lot more time than we have today to go into all the theological distinctions of all of that, all the precisions of the Old Testament, the New Testament, and how the Holy Spirit worked then and now, and some similarities, some differences. I'm not going to parse all that, but I want us to think about this thing of what it means to be anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the Scripture, the anointing of oil signifies consecration, preparation for service. It's an enabling, an empowering to serve the Lord, to do what you've been called and set apart to do.

Sometimes in the Scripture inanimate objects were anointed with oil. Things in the tabernacle, things in the temple, the pieces of furniture, the instruments, the tools that were used in worship sometimes were anointed with oil. What that meant, simply, was that this otherwise ordinary item was now set apart. It was consecrated. It was set apart for God's service. It became unusual. It became distinctive. It became different because it had been anointed with oil.

But more often than inanimate objects being anointed, people were anointed. Anointed for God's service. That anointing with oil became an evidence that they had been divinely called and enabled to serve God. It was an evidence of divine calling and enabling for a task.

This is something you can't do without the Holy Spirit of God. So the anointing with oil symbolized that an inner work of the Holy Spirit coming upon, filling, and enabling people to do something that they otherwise could not have done.

This anointing with oil bestowed authority and boldness. And this is what set the ministry or the service apart as being distinct. And I believe we have today, in the church, men and women ministering in a host of different ways, doing God-ordained tasks, being called and set apart by God to serve Him, but doing it without a conscious sense of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. And what we get is words. We get tasks. But we don't get the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Why do we see thousands and thousands of churches and pastors, preparing and pouring out their hearts week after week after week, and people sitting like bumps on a log, no evidence of transformation or change or awe or wonder or power or anything?

My heart goes out to the average pastor who's speaking to people who don't look like it matters, like they care. So it's ho-hum. We hear these amazing, glorious truths, but there's no power. Why is that? Why is it so often in our own ministries? Why do you feel this sometimes in your parenting? Why do you feel it sometimes in serving the Lord as a wife? In serving the Lord as a discipler or a worship leader or a small group leader? Why do you feel sometimes it's just words?

Maybe it's because we haven't identified the need for the anointing of the Holy Spirit of God in whatever He has called us to do.

In the Scripture, in the Old Testament, the anointing was used to set people apart for three distinct offices—that of prophet, priest, and king. Priests and kings almost always, prophets occasionally, were anointed with oil to indicate that they were set apart, they were consecrated for God's service. And this is what made their service distinct.

You read about this all through the Old Testament—Leviticus, Exodus, Deuteronomy. It's fascinating to go through and see what happened when these prophets, priests, and kings were anointed with oil.

Let me just give you one illustration. In 1 Samuel 16, the prophet Samuel was sent to anoint David as the king of Israel. And then verse 13 tells us "Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed [David] in the midst of his brothers."

He was set apart—he was one of eight, and he was set apart. The youngest, the least likely, the most ordinary one, the least qualified one, as far as most people were concerned. But God said, "He's the one, and demonstrate this. Here's the evidence: anoint him with oil." Which Samuel did.

And then it says, "And the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward" (v. 13).

And I read verses like that, and I think, Oh Lord, I'm not a king. I'm not a priest in an Old Testament sense. (We are in a New Testament sense.) I'm not a prophet in an Old Testament sense. But I am your servant, and how I would love for your Holy Spirit to not only be in me (as He is in every believer), but to fill me and to come mightily upon me and to use me in ways that I could never, ever do apart from that divine anointing.

So these prophets, kings, priests were set apart for God's service by being anointed with oil. And they were called the Lord's anointed ones. The Hebrew term there is mashiach. Mashiach—they were the anointed ones.

Remember in 1 Samuel where David refused to take the life of King Saul because he said, "He is the LORD's . . ." what? "The LORD's anointed." Samuel had also anointed King Saul with oil. Now he didn't do a very good job with the living up to that calling, but David said, "He is the Lord's mashiach, anointed one."

To be mashiachs symbolized being chosen and commissioned by God for an office or a task and then filled with His Spirit to fulfill that calling.

The word mashiach, in the Hebrew language is rendered in English, what? Messiah. You know that word. One theologian has said that this is one of the most important words in the Old Testament.

Another has said that it's the greatest word in the Hebrew vocabulary, that it expresses the central concept of Jewish theology.

Why? What's so important about this word mashiach, anointed one, Messiah?

Throughout the Old Testament, God promised there would one day be a future leader, one sent from God, one anointed with His Spirit, the ultimate prophet, priest, and king, who would deliver God's people, establish His kingdom, and rule the world. The Messiah.

And the prophets, the priests, the kings, the people, they waited on the edge of their seats . . . until they got tired waiting for the Messiah.

And then you come to the New Testament. The Greek counterpart to the Hebrew word mashiach, anointed one, is the word Christos: Jesus Christ.

Now Christ is not Jesus' last name. It's a title. What does it mean? Jesus the Messiah— Mashiach, the Anointed One.

All those Old Testament anointed ones were just pointing to God's ultimate Anointed One—Jesus who fills all three offices perfectly: Prophet, Priest, and King.

And so we read, prophetically, in Isaiah 61, and then fulfilled in the New Testament, "The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me (Mashiach, Messiah, God's Anointed One) to bring good news to the poor" (v. 1).

And so we think of Jesus, He is God, so we say, "Of course He can minister in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, He is God!" But He came in human form, recognizing His need as a man for mashiach, anointing with the power of the Holy Spirit in order to proclaim good news to the poor.

He was the one to whom all those Old Testament offices pointed. It's amazing, but that's not all. Here's what I think is just as amazing, and that is as New Testament believers, we have been given the gift of the Spirit by the Father. The same Father who gave Jesus, anointed Him with the gift and the power of the Holy Spirit, has given His Holy Spirit to us, to be in us, to fill us, to anoint us, to empower us for service. We serve as God's anointed ones, filled with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

"You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8). There's a connection between the Holy Spirit and power, enabling to do tasks that we could not do apart from Him.

Second Corinthians 1: "It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (vv. 21–22).

We read in 1 John 2, and I'm just giving you a little sampling, a taste of some . . . and this is all introduction, by the way . . . a taste of Scriptural passages about the anointing. In 1 John 2, the apostle John says to the children of God, not to some special clergy, he says, "Little children (children of God) you have been anointed by the Holy One. The anointing that you received from Him abides in you." And he talks about how that anointing guards from error and guides into truth and then enables service.

Martin Lloyd-Jones was a preacher of a past generation who got this. He believed in the divine anointing, the unction, as sometimes it's been called, of the Holy Spirit. He talked about the penetration and domination of the personality by the Spirit of God. He talked about preaching and teaching being theology coming through a man who is on fire. Divine anointing. The accompanying power of the Holy Spirit.

In fact, I rarely do this when I'm teaching, but there's a book . . . I don't even know if it's still in print, but I love it. It's really impacted me. It's by E.M. Bounds. It's called Powerful and Prayerful Pulpits. And if you'll turn to page 7 in your little handout here, I want to just read you an excerpt from that book. It's kind of old language, so I want to read it and maybe emphasize it in such a way that it will make greater sense.

Now here he's talking about preaching in pulpits, but I believe that every servant of the Lord, wherever you're teaching, wherever you're serving, however you're ministering in, whatever capacity, you need divine anointing of the Holy Spirit to do that task. So where you see the word preaching here, think about teaching or counseling or discipling, and I believe similar things would apply.

He says:

The power of preaching or teaching lies in the divine anointing on the man. This is his consecration and qualification. Though he may have the tongue and wisdom of men and of angels, the power lies in the continuous anointing of the Spirit. The lips that do not glow with the kindlings of this divine flame are impotent to speak for God.

In the Christian system, unction is the anointing of the Holy Ghost, separating unto God's work and qualifying for it. This unction is the one divine enablement by which the preacher or the teacher accomplishes the peculiar and saving ends of preaching. Without this unction, there are no true spiritual results accomplished. Without this unction on the preacher, the gospel has no more power to propagate itself than any other system of truth.

You see, God has designed to communicate His truth, His powerful gospel through weak, flawed, failing human vessels. And how does He do that? We're cracked pots, as the apostle Paul says. Broken vessels. He does it by the power of His Holy Spirit coming in and filling us and using us.

Bounds says, "Unction in the preacher puts God in the gospel. Without the unction, God is absent, and the gospel is left to the low and unsatisfactory forces that the ingenuity, interests, or talents of men can devise to enforce and project its doctrines."

What's he saying? If we don't have the power of the Holy Spirit, it's just up to our natural gifts, and they aren't enough to accomplish the ends that need to be accomplished in people's lives.

He said, "Unctionless preaching makes everything hard, dry, acrid and dead."

Have you heard teaching like that? Have you done teaching like that? I have.

Let me read on.

Nothing short of the baptism of the Holy Spirit qualifies the preacher, the teacher, the disciple, the counselor. He needs power. The power to raise the spiritually dead. Power to deliver from the slavery of Satan. Power to enfranchise from the dominion of sin. Power to bring the brightness of noonday to the midnight of sin and hell. The power of learning, the power of eloquence, the power of the brain will not qualify for this work.

Do I hear any amens?

An anointed pulpit is the most powerful of God's institutions, the tenderest and the firmest, the gentlest and the strongest, the most quieting and the most disturbing, the most attractive and the most repulsive, the best loved and the most hated of things on earth. The one thing that gives God the greatest comfort and gives the devil the greatest trouble—God's great demand, and the church's great need—is a pulpit [a Sunday School class, homeschool classroom, a mom, a woman] anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Well, for the remaining moments we have this afternoon and this evening continuing, I want to talk about two aspects of the divine anointing. The first is personal preparation, and that's where we look briefly at an anointed life. And then we'll move to powerful presentation and look at anointed lips.

I'm not sure how far we'll go this afternoon. We'll just stop at some point and give you a dinner break and then come back and pick up where we left off. But I want to start briefly with this matter of personal preparation—an anointed life.

Now, we're going to get some great tools this weekend. Jen's book is a great resource to get you started. It will give you tools for preparation of your message, preparation of your content. And that preparation is critical. It is essential. You cannot bypass it. There are no shortcuts.

But I want to tell you that preparation of your notes, preparation of your head, preparation of your mind is useless, and maybe even dangerous, if it's not accompanied by preparation of your heart and your life to deliver that message.

So let me make just two points about preparation of the life.

Number one: We must let God speak to us before we speak His Word to others. If you start looking at this lens through Scripture, you'll see it all over the Old and New Testaments.

Ezra 7:10 tells us that "Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD, and to do it and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel." First his own study, his life, to study, to do, and then to teach.

We read in Psalm 39, "My heart became hot within me. As I mused [As I meditated, as I marinated, as I let God speak to me], the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue" (v. 3).

Too many of us are trying to speak with our tongues before we have let the fire of God's Word and God's Spirit and God's holiness burn hotly in our own hearts. How does that happen? It happens as we muse. It happens as we meditate. It happens as we wait on the Lord with this Book open before us. We're pondering, we're thinking, we're processing. We're letting it soak into our pores. And as we do, the fire burns. And then when you get up, there's fire. There's power.

It's not you. It's the Holy Spirit. You get up, and you teach with your tongue, and God does something supernatural out of the fire of your own heart to use it as kindling to light the fire in others' hearts.

John 12:41 refers back to the prophet Isaiah, the vision that Isaiah had in Isaiah 6. The vision was of the exalted Christ. "Isaiah said these things," John 12 says, "because he saw [Christ's] glory and spoke of him."

You can't speak of the glory of Christ in a way that will be compelling to others if you haven't first beheld His glory yourself. Isaiah was useless to take God's message to the nation until he had come into the temple of the Lord and seen the holy, holy, holy, exalted Christ whose train filled the temple. Not until he had a sense of wonder and awe and of his own unworthiness and then had that cleansing, searing moment at the altar where he was cleansed and filled with that vision of his own unworthiness and the power and the majesty of the crucified Christ that he sees in advance. Then he goes out, aflame, with the glory of God, and he speaks of the glory of God.

We have to let God speak to us before we speak His Word to others. We have to see Him before we can make Him seen by others.

You see this in Moses in Exodus 34 about how Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him. Then he would come out, and he would speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.

This one's not in your notes, but it came to my mind late last night, or early this morning: In the book of 1 Samuel, at the end of chapter 3, Scripture says, "The LORD revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the LORD" (v. 21).

Then 4:1: "The word of Samuel came to all Israel."

What happened first? The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel. That's why God gave you this Book, so you could know God. The Lord revealed Himself to Samuel by His word, and then Samuel spoke the word to all of Israel. "And the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground" (3:19).

Wow! A lot of words being spoken today. A lot of classes being taught. A lot of videos being shown. A lot of radio programs, podcasts. When we started the ministry of Revive Our Hearts, I felt like there were already way too many people talking, and I had no interest in adding to the noise. So I said, "Lord, if You're in this, then I pray that You'd confirm it. And throughout this ministry, however long or short it might be, would You reveal Yourself to me by Your Word, and then would You give me grace to speak, and would You let not one word that comes from You fall to the ground?"

That's why I'm really conscious of not having wasted words. Now sometimes I do, but it's a desire that every word would count, that it would be a word that comes as I listen to the Lord, meet with Him with my open Bible, hear from Him, and then speak, and then everyone of those words takes root in someone's heart and does exactly what God sent it forth to accomplish.

Ezekiel 2, let me just summarize. God brings to Ezekiel a scroll. It's an odd account. His hand is stretched out, and there's a scroll written on the front and on the back, and the messenger says to him, "Son of man. . . . Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel" (Ezek. 3:1).

"Eat this scroll." What does that mean? Well, as Ezekiel the prophet, anointed by God, consecrated for God's purposes, as he received and internalized God's message, symbolized in the "eating of the scroll," the Word of God, he was taking it into his own life so that it became a living, breathing, burning passion, fire within his own soul. And then he went and spoke to the people of Israel.

I am so tired of giving and listening to passionless messages where the speaker, myself so often, has not been at the fire of God's presence. We're just talking, and nobody's life is being changed, and God's not visiting us with His manifest presence. Could it be that one of the reasons is we're not seeking God for the divine anointing of our lives?

He said, "Son of man, eat the scroll. Go, speak to the house of Israel. All My words that I shall speak to you, receive in your heart and hear with your ears, and then go and speak to your people" (vv. 3, 10–11, paraphrased).

You'll never speak words with power to others that you haven't heard first God speak to your own heart. It takes time. There are no shortcuts. It takes waiting. It takes solitude.

Remember John the Baptist, who was in the wilderness listening to God until the day of his appearing to Israel? And once he went out, he was a man on fire and people came to watch him burn. They'll come and watch you burn when you get set aflame with the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Lord Jesus Himself said in John 8, "I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me" (v. 28).

I listen. I learn from my Father. And then I speak of what I have seen with my Father.

The apostle John in 1 John 1 says, concerning the Word of Life, "That which we have seen and heard, we proclaim also to you."

We have to let God speak to us before we speak about Him to others. Proclaim that which you have seen, heard, and experienced for yourself, and it will be alive in others.

I don't have it in this Bible, but for many years in the back of my Bible I had written out all stanzas to an old hymn of Frances Ridley Havergal. And before I would go speak, almost every time, I would get on my knees and sing this hymn. Let me just read to you a portion of it.

Lord, speak to me, that I may speak
In living echoes of Thy tone;
O teach me, Lord, that I may teach
The precious things Thou dost impart
And wing my words, that they may reach
The hidden depths of many a heart.

That's our prayer: "Lord, speak to me so that when I speak, people will know that they are hearing from You."

Number two: As we prepare our lives for anointed ministry, our lives must incarnate, or illustrate, what we proclaim to others. And again this is a principle you see throughout the Scripture.

Notably, in John 1 where we read that the Word became . . . what? Flesh. That's what incarnate means—in the flesh. The Word, the Word of God, the logos took on flesh—not just something mysterious, a theory up there, out there somewhere. The Word came in a physical, human body and took up residence among us, tabernacled among us, dwelt among us. Jesus, the living Word of God, put on flesh so we could read and know and hear and see and live with the Word of God.

And the Word must be incarnated in us, fleshed out in our lives, before we can effectively proclaim it to others in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul . . . I quoted him earlier from 1 Thessalonians 1, where he says our gospel didn't come just in Word, but in power and the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. He goes on to say, "You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord" (vv. 5–6).

First Thessalonians 2:10: "You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers."

Paul is saying, "We didn't just tell you the Word of God. Here's what part of the power was: We illustrated it in our lives. We didn't teach you one thing and then live another thing."

I've been in ministry long enough to see a lot of people who are . . . well, maybe not a lot, but a number . . . who are one thing on the platform and then a whole different persona off the platform. I'm going, "What's this?"

Well, what's this about me? How often is my own life a different person on the platform than off?

And Paul says, "There was no difference. You saw day and light as we lived among you what we were like, and you became imitators of us as we are imitators of the Lord."

And so I ask this question: If the people that I teach, if they imitate not just what I tell them to do, but what they see in my life, will they be imitators of God? What will their lives be like?

There's a very searching verse in Luke 6:40. I kind of wish it wasn't there, but it is. It says—Jesus says this—"Everyone when he is fully trained . . ." That's what we're trying to do—women teaching women. Right? Well, when we've done our job, "everyone, when he is fully trained will be like his teacher." It doesn't say he'll know what his teacher knows. It says he'll be like what his teacher is.

So the question is does your life off the platform support or contradict what you teach? You see if the truth hasn't first changed us, it's not likely to change anyone else when we speak it.

We pray, "Lord, start the work in me."

Oswald Chambers said it this way: "The message must be part of ourselves. Our lives must be the sacrament of our message. Before God's message can liberate other souls, the liberation must be real in you."

E. M. Bounds said it this way: "The power of preaching or teaching must always be backed by a Christ-like life. The preacher's every act must be a sermon. His life the Bible illustrated. His holiness, pure, the whitest flame. The life he lives must be the life of heaven on earth."

Now as Jen reminded us a few moments ago, who is equal to these things? I'm just maybe scaring us all and saying, "Well, I better never teach." [laughter] That's not the conclusion. The conclusion is, "Lord, I need You, every hour, every moment. Cleanse me. Wash me. I am weak. I am sinful. I am failing. I am frail. I am faulty. I am everything that I'm not supposed to be, but, Lord, You are righteous. You are holy. Be holy in me. You have imputed to me the righteousness of Christ. Now live out that righteousness in and through my life. Make me what this Book calls us to be by the power of Your Holy Spirit. And then may my life illustrate, incarnate the truth to those that I'm teaching."

Personal preparation—an anointed life. Don't skip by that as you prepare to teach the Word of God to others.

I've known women over the years who are masterful communicators. They're in demand. They're popular speakers. People come and fill rooms to hear them speak. But then you start talking to them about their marriage, about their home, about their personal walk with God. Sometimes their home is in shambles, literally, or their relationships are, while they're up teaching others the things of God. And I'm saying, "There is something wrong with this picture."

There's something wrong with that picture when it's true in my life. That I've got some great big message to proclaim here, but then in my relationships in the office, with my family, with my closest friends, there's not the fruit of the Spirit. When I'm challenging you to live a Spirit-filled life and a prayerful life and an anointed life, but off the platform, my life is ho-hum and ordinary and not evidencing the power and the fruit of the Spirit, something doesn't add up.

So I come, and I say, "Oh, Lord." I'm saying to you I'm not all those things I'm calling us to be, but by God's grace, I'm headed that direction. I'm committed to be. I'm willing to be transparent to say where it's not working in my life but this is where, by God's grace, He's changing me and making me the kind of women He wants me to be.

And I want to say to you, as Paul said, "Be imitators of me as I am of Christ" (1 Cor. 11:1), knowing that everyone, when he's been fully trained, will be like his teacher."

Oh, Lord, I pray that people who listen to me will go further than I have gone. But I can't count on that. I want to live the kind of life that compels people to follow Jesus as they see me doing that.

Well, let me just start a little bit into this matter of powerful presentation—anointed lips. I want to make just two points here, and then we'll take a break and come back to this tonight.

Number one: To have anointed lips, cultivate and communicate a sense of reverential awe for the Word of God—awe for the Word of God.

In Isaiah 66:2, God says, "This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."

I want to say, I do think there's a place, an appropriate place for humor, in communicating truth, in teaching others, in teaching your children, discipling, speaking up here. Jen used it well. I loved how she used humor in an effective way to enhance the point and to kind of take the point deeper into our own hearts.

But it can be a dangerous thing because I've seen far too many people in the pulpit, on the platform, in teaching settings, make light of serious truths from God's Word. I think we need to be really, really careful that we don't make light of these rich, powerful, amazing, awesome truths, that we stand under the Word of God in awe of this Book.

It's an awesome privilege and a responsibility to handle the Word of God. Never handle it lightly. Never treat it as a trivial thing.

Augustine said, "When the Bible speaks, God speaks."

That's why when I'm teaching through a text and I read the passage, I will almost always say, "Could we stand together for the reading of the Word as we give honor to the Word of God?" Because what this Book says is what is powerful. I'm going to shed light on it. I'm going to help you understand it as God's been doing that for me, but I want you to know that it's not my words. It's this Word that will change your life. It's awesome. So cultivate that sense of reverence and awe for the Word of God.

And don't expect others to be any more deeply stirred by the truth than you've been stirred by it. If this truth you're teaching hasn't stirred you, if it hasn't done something to burn a fire in you, then why would anybody else get excited about it? Why would anybody else say, "Yes! That's what I want!" if they're not seeing that warmth of heart toward God's Word in you?

So reverence and awe for God's Word.

And then number two—this is where I want to close this afternoon. Consciously seek and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. (This is really the thread of this whole concept.) Cry out to God for what I call fresh oil—fresh oil.

A gal who worked on our team years ago, many years ago, would hear me say—I don't know that I prayed any prayer more often than this over the years—"Lord, give me fresh oil." Especially when we're coming into a conference like this, I feel depleted at times. I feel weary. Late nights, early mornings, I'd say, "Lord, please, give me fresh oil."

And she saw this sign on a roadside. [laughter] She took a picture. She had it laminated for me, and I carried it in my purse for a long, long time. "Fresh oil. Lord, grant it—the power of the Holy Spirit."

Remember that the power is not in the words that we speak or in our natural eloquence. But it's the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

I don't know how many times over the years—many—I've had this conversation with the Lord. It is similar to the one that Mary of Nazareth had with the angel in Luke 1. Now the details are different, but a similar exchange. Remember how the angel came and said, "You're going to be carrying in your womb the Son of God"?

And Mary goes—a fourteen-year-old girl here maybe, a young teenager— "How can this be? I've never known a man. It's impossible."

I've said this to the Lord so many times. When He asked me to start Revive Our Hearts radio, when the call came to do the True Woman Conferences, these Revive Conferences. And I go, "Lord, this is impossible. I can't do this. How can I?"

And the angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you" (Luke 1:35).

How many times God has reminded me of that as I've been in this whole exchange about all the things I can't do. I feel so weak, so poor, so needy. People think I'm confident. I am the furthest thing from confident. My picture is next to the dictionary, next to the word insecure, inadequate. I feel it so strongly. But "the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High God will overshadow you."

Listen, that verse isn't just for Mary. That verse isn't just for me. That verse is for you, for whatever God has called you to do, to be. And it may not just be in teaching. It may be in loving a husband who doesn't know Jesus. It may be in knowing how to love a prodigal child.

You say, "I can't do this. This is impossible. Me, teach a Sunday school class? Me, lead a small group? I can hardly talk. I can't do this." The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. If this is what God is calling you to do, then it will be His power, the power of the Holy Spirit.

And don't you love Mary's response? Luke 1:38, my life verse "Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord. May it be to me as You have said."

What is she saying? "Yes, Lord. I'm willing. I'm available. I'm empty. I'm weak. I've nothing to offer." I get this really insecure sense when we have two-day conferences. I think, What if nobody comes back the second day? [laughter] Because I feel how empty I am. I can hardly get my own heart filled. What do I have to offer these women?

I'm not being self-deprecating. I'm just telling you this is what I wrestle with in my hotel room. And you do, too. Right? We're in this together. But the purpose is that people will see that the power is not of us, it's of God. And they will experience the reality of His presence in a way that would not be otherwise possible.

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, you know the name—amazing preacher, the prince of preachers. I wish I could talk about Jesus the way Spurgeon did. Oh, my goodness. Wow! But it's amazing as you read his sermons, how often he says to the congregation, "I need the Holy Spirit to come."

Let me just read a couple of those to you. He says . . . these are in the middle of sermons.

"Oh Spirit of the Living God, win an entrance for the blessed Christ this morning."

In another message he said, "Beloved, I speak but too coldly upon a theme which ought to stir my soul first and yours afterwards. Spirit of the Living God, come like a quickening wind from heaven, and let the sparks of our love grow into a mighty furnace flame, just now, if it may so please Thee."

"Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me."

In another sermon he said, "Oh for a blessing from the Holy Spirit all the sermon through."

What was he doing? He was acknowledging his nothingness, and his need for the Holy Spirit to come upon him. The Holy Spirit's already in him, but he's saying, "Fill me. Anoint me. Give me fresh oil for this moment, for this message, for this task. And, Lord, do in the hearts of people what I cannot do, but You can do by the power of Your Word and the power of Your blessed Holy Spirit."

So as you prepare, pray, and I'm saying prepare for whatever God's given you to do. It doesn't have to be some great big task. You're preparing to homeschool your kids in Algebra. You're preparing to do whatever God has given you to do in your local church, in your community. Pray for the Holy Spirit to first stir your own heart, to fill you with His Spirit.

And then pray that He would prepare the soil of hearts that are listening, those you're responsible to serve, that He would open their eyes, that He would give them understanding, that He would pierce their hearts with the application, that He would bend their wills, that He would grant the gift of repentance and the gift of faith, that He would preserve and protect the seed that is sown in the hearts of people, and that He would by His grace and the power of His Spirit cause that Word that's been communicated to sprout and bring forth a great harvest of righteousness for His glory and the advancement of His kingdom.

And you say, "Lord, it's all about You. Do it. Come. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in this place. Come fill me. Anoint me. Give me fresh oil. And anoint the ears of the hearers. And do in them and through them something that cannot be explained except by You."

Oh Holy Spirit, come and seal by Your power what You have said to our hearts this afternoon.

Thank You for my sister Jen. Thank You for the words of wisdom that she has spoken into our hearts, the words of caution, Your words that have come through her to us.

And, Lord, I am weak, but You are strong, and I just pray that something You have said will pierce and penetrate and probe and change a heart today by the power of Your Holy Spirit, for Your glory.

Oh, Lord Jesus, come and do a fresh work of grace in every one of our hearts over these hours, that when we leave this place, our hearts will be aflame, not performing, but aflame with the power of Your Holy Spirit so that everywhere we go, every person to whom we speak, every conversation we have, every setting in which we serve You or minister for You will be You doing Your powerful work in and through us. I pray in Jesus' name, amen.