Scripture: "And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener), that He may remain with you forever. The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see Him, nor know or recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you constantly, and will be IN you." (John 14:16-17)
Scripture: "I will not leave you orphans. I will come back to you." (John 14:18)
Scripture: "The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who really loves Me, and whoever really loves Me will be loved by My Father. And I too will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him--I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him." (John 14:21)
Scripture: "The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to remember, and He will remind you of everything that I have told you." (John 14: 26)
May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with you! Pentecost is approaching, and it is time for us to draw back from studying the gifts for a moment so we can study the Giver! Who IS the Holy Spirit? When I was growing up, He was always depicted as a bird. I remember thinking...how in the world am I supposed to have a relationship with a bird!? He was sort of the "forgotten" member of the Trinity, and in many ways He still is. But not anymore. THIS is the moment, my friends, when THIS community of believers is not only going to "get" who the Holy Spirit is, but we are going to "get" what it means to host His Presence and have Him flow through us! Because, beautiful people, we have things to do!
Go with me to the book of Acts. Something dramatic happened in Peter's life. Before Pentecost, he denied Jesus, was filled with fear, and stayed as far away as he could from those who had killed Jesus. After the coming of the Holy Spirit, things were dramatically different. Not only did wimpy Peter come forth with an astounding boldness, but signs and wonders totally came forth from him AND people seemed to be healed just by being near him. (Acts 5:15) What kind of anointing was on this man? The anointing that was on Peter and has been on so many thousands throughout salvation history, is a Person...the Person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, the human being, could only be in one place at a time. Jesus, the glorified, risen King promised to send His own Spirit to each believer. Can we expect an experience similar to Peter's and the rest of the 1st generation church? And how about Paul? "God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul." (Acts 19:11)
I believe that we haven't yet begun to move in what the Holy Spirit has revealed of Himself. Most of us just don't believe. We may believe God CAN, but we still don't believe He WILL or that He wants to use us. We get hung up on not feeling worthy, not feeling holy enough, etc. We AREN'T worthy! We AREN'T holy enough! Jesus never painted those as requirements. We pray that the Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven, but if we refuse to believe that He wants to bring that Kingdom through US, we are the ones blocking it. What IS required is simple, humble faith and obedience. If Jesus says He wants to use you, it's time to realize it has nothing to do with YOUR goodness or gifts. It has EVERYTHING to do with His! If you will simply give Him your little, human, weak self, He will be most happy to astound you! If you have any questions, St Therese will be happy to help you get the "being little" thing!
I think we are in a time where the Lord is clearly looking for this generation's disciples who will make the decision to RADICALLY believe Him. WE have to get out of our own way so that we can take Jesus at His Word and have these amazing, exceptional stories become the norm...not the exception! The Lord certainly has opened our eyes in these last few months. My phone rings off the hook with folks needing comfort, wanting guidance, and all the rest. Most of us would have NEVER imagined that our world would totally shut down like it has. People are losing their jobs, wondering about their futures and there's a level of fear that is insidious and taking root in a pretty frightening way. We need to SEE heaven in our day to day. We need to experience the reality of Jesus' Presence in our here and now.
Each of us is given the great gift of the Holy Spirit at Baptism, and a stirring up again at Confirmation. There is, without question, no greater privilege than carrying the Presence of God. But so few of us are cognizant of this privilege and assignment, AND even fewer who've given Jesus our YES. It's not just an amazing grace, it's a huge responsibility. Some days, carrying the Presence of God is thrilling and we experience the "fullness of joy." (Ps 16:11) Reading Scripture, especially life in the early church, lets us know that some days it is less than exhilarating. Yes, the Holy Spirit is given for miracles, signs and wonders. But He is also given for times that need supernatural endurance. The Lord will give His gifts to those who understand both the gift and the responsibility of carrying His Presence. The same measure of the Holy Spirit has been given to all, but as Pastor Bill Johnson says, God will only give what we are able to steward well. Why? If you have a bowl with many cracks in it and you put a very heavy weight on it, it will crush the cracked bowl. The weight would be too heavy. The same applies to us. If we had the full measure of the Holy Spirit that's in our "spiritual bank account," it may well be too heavy for us right now. Jesus does not want to crush us. He wants us to grow into our anointing!
How do we grow into our anointing? Pray for hunger. Get into the Word. Read Acts of the Apostles. Read the words of Jesus. Choose to believe Him! Take every thought captive in obedience to Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Do it again and again and again. Ask the Lord to transform you by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2) In your prayer time, get even more intentional about praising and worshiping. In worship, we begin to see from His perspective, not our limited one. These are just a few ways. Ask the Holy Spirit. He is so excited to be in conversation with you about this.
The Holy Spirit, Jesus alive in us, is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He doesn't only give a one-time infilling. In Acts 4, after Peter and John were arrested and released, they prayed for more boldness. The Spirit of God came again. (Acts 4:29-30) After much persecution, the apostles didn't ask for God to smite their accusers, Peter asked for more signs and wonders to come so that the people would believe. Acts 4: says, "And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness." We are called to a life of growing in the Spirit who resides within us. I've said all of this before and I'll say it again: what if we lived as if this TRUTH was TRUE?
Who is the Holy Spirit? He is the very Presence of God, the third person of the Trinity, Jesus alive in us! Who is this gift for? Acts 2:39 says, "For the promise of the Holy spirit is for you and your children and to all that are far away...even as many as the Lord calls to come to Himself." He is given so that the work of Jesus can continue today. He is given so that people may see Jesus and see Jesus alive in YOU. And Jesus Himself said, "When you produce much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified; and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine." (John 15: 8) Sally, Carolyn, Kevin, Mary, Retzel, Heather, Chip, Stephanie and every one of us reading this...when YOU produce much fruit, though the power of Jesus alive in you, it gives your Father in heaven such joy and such glory. And what's one of the definitions of giving Him glory? Making Him easy to see. How incredible! I'll end this with John 15:16. Hear it as Jesus' very word to YOU. "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you. I have appointed you and I have planted you, that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing; that your fruit may be lasting (that it may remain and abide); so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you."
The feast of Pentecost is May 31st. I propose a novena, nine days of focused prayer, beginning on May 22nd, 2 days from today. You can google any Holy Spirit novena. I will be saying this novena for MORE of the Spirit to be stirred up in me. I want more HUNGER, more LOVE, more FIRE, more ANOINTING, more understanding of my littleness and His GREATNESS. I would love it if you would pray this novena with me. Jesus is looking for those who want MORE. Pentecost is coming. Again, we owe the world an encounter with Jesus. If not us, WHO? Let's go big in this.
Declaration: I declare that we who carry Jesus will experience the unique miracles of God. Like the early church, we will see extraordinary miracles performed at the hands of Tim and Kathleen and Theresa and all of us! We will be witnesses of unusual and uncommon signs and wonders that confirm God's Word in action. I say to every demonic power that would prevent us from seeing, operating in or encountering the miraculous to be bound in Jesus' Name. May unusual miracles be regularly seen in your personal life, the lives of your children and family, your occupation, finances, health and home. I say, in Jesus' Name that unique miracles shall be your experience and your portion, and that you will be a humble, willing vessel to carry the awesome Presence of the living God!