Scripture: "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
Scripture: "While they were looking intently at the sky as He was going, suddenly two men dressed in white garments stood beside them. 'Men of Galilee, why are you standing there looking at the sky?'" (Acts 1:10-11)
Scripture: "May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation --of insight into mysteries and secrets in the deep and intimate knowledge of Him. May the eyes of your heart be flooded with light so that you can know the hope to which you are called in Christ Jesus, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in His set apart ones, and so that you can know and understand what is the immeasurable and unlimited greatness of His power in and for us who believe. This was demonstrated in the working of His mighty strength which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His one right hand in the heavenly places..." (Ephesians 1:17-20)
May the grace, peace and power of the Holy Spirit be with you and IN you! I had no intention of writing today, but these readings are SO good I couldn't help myself! In lieu of yesterday's writings on the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, let's continue that thought. So often when I read Scripture, I put myself into the scene. Today, I had to laugh picturing myself among the apostles talking with Jesus right before He ascended. As they are walking with Him, His disciples are asking if He is going to restore the kingdom to Israel. I imagine Jesus was rolling His eyes thinking, "Can I really leave these folks in charge, Father? Are we still on the physical kingdom???' He immediately changes the subject and tells them that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Don't you wonder if they were still scratching their heads trying to make sense of this Holy Spirit talk? We SO over-spiritualize these folks in Scripture. They, like us, did NOT have the whole picture, and from the sound of it, their heads were only in temporal political takeovers!
So, this morning I was with them, with Jesus, as He spoke those words and then "Suddenly He was lifted up and a cloud took Him from their sight." (Acts 1:10) Go there for a moment. What in the world?!?!? There is no grid, no rulebook for the experience of seeing someone just lift up in your presence and be carried away in a cloud. I thought it was particularly funny when the two angels, "two men dressed in white," showed up. First, how often do you suppose that angels looking like people show up to help us (clueless wonders!) and we have no idea we're being visited by angels? And secondly, I loved that the angels had to jar the stunned apostles back into reality. "Hey people, why are you frozen in place looking like you just saw a miracle or something?!" If I had been there I would've said, "because I DID just see one! Pardon me, men in white, but it isn't normal to see someone floating up into the sky! And yes, we know He is alive again but this kind of stuff is still mind blowing!" I imagine the angels winking to each other thinking, 'These folks are about to have their worlds rocked when the Holy Spirit comes. We can't WAIT to watch this!"
"And you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you." (Acts 1:8) In the Passion Translation it says, "but I promise you this, the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be seized with power." In the footnotes it says also, "you will seize power." I love reading in several translations. It helps you soak in the meaning from the verse. There's a big difference in "receiving" and "seizing." We need to do both. In humility, knowing we can do NOTHING to earn the gift of mercy, grace, Holy Spirit, and all the Father promises; we need to RECEIVE. But we have a part to play, people of God. WE must believe Him so that we can SEIZE the power and do something with the gifts He intends to give us. The only way the ministry of Jesus will continue today is if it continues in us. So, we have to get feisty and not only receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, but then GO AFTER IT, SEIZE it, study the gifts, seek them, pray for them, EXPECT them and USE them!! And do the same thing tomorrow and the next and the next. It is wonderful beyond measure to wake up in some grand anointing and begin demonstrating the Kingdom. And certainly, there are stories like that. Acts chapter 2 is one of those. But even the apostles had to practice and step out in faith and RISK and believe that God would back them up. And sometimes all they could muster was to hope He would. And when He did, their faith grew, as did their anointings, and those who witnessed the presence and the love of God were healed and astounded. They encountered the risen Christ.
Every generation, the gifts are given for the building of the Kingdom of God in the here and now. There is no shortcut to growing in the Spirit. What is typical of humans is that we want it all and we want it NOW. "It takes a lot of slow to grow." I have been on this journey since I was 16 years old. And yes, there are clear times when the Lord brought me to another level, or a prayer of impartation brought increase in my anointing, but equally as important, dear apostles, is the time you invest in building the foundation. Pray, seek, knock, ask, study, surround yourself with folks who are on a similar journey and just a bit ahead of you. All of this is not only foundational but non-negotiable for growth in the Spirit. Also, some things in our lives are a maturity issue. We will only be given what we can steward well. We must always ask Jesus to show us where we need to grow, and where we need to repent so we CAN grow!
I love the other reading for today. "May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ impart to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation to know Him through your deepening intimacy with Him. May the eyes of your heart be flooded with light that you may know the hope to which you are called in Christ Jesus. That is the wealth of God's glorious inheritances that He finds in us, His holy ones! I pray that you will continually experience the immeasurable greatness of God's power made available to you through faith. Your lives will be an advertisement of this immense power as it works through you. Thus is the mighty power that was released when God raised Christ from the dead and exalted Him to the place of highest honor and supreme authority in the heavenly realm!" (Ephesians 1:17-20 TPT)
What do we DO with the power of the Holy Spirit when it comes? Hold it as your highest treasure. And "stir up the flame--rekindle the embers, fan the flame and keep it burning--this gracious gift of God (the inner fire) that is in you by means of the laying on of hands. For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but He has given us a spirit of power and love and a calm and well balanced mind, and discipline and self control." (2 Timothy 1:6-7 AMP) "Carefully consider all that I've taught you, and may the Lord inspire you with wisdom and revelation in everything you say and do. But make Jesus, the Anointed One, your focus in life and ministry." (2 Timothy 2:7-8 TPT)
What are YOU going to do when the fresh anointing of the gift of the Holy Spirit comes upon you? Let's stay the course and grow in our anointing. Let's stay little, humble, knowing that nothing is earned or self-created. All we can bring to the table is obedience. ALL else is gift and grace. So, we "feast on all the treasures of the heavenly realm and fill your thoughts with heavenly realities, and not with the distractions of the natural realm." (Colossians 3:2 TPT) That's not to say that we don't have to work, do errands, be in the midst of family life, but it DOES mean that we need to set aside designated prayer time where we can set our minds on things above. We're going to grow whatever we feed. Look at the world in this pandemic. What's growing is frenzy and fear and discontent. Remember Jesus sleeping through the storm? We aren't Jesus, but His very Spirit lives in us so we too can learn to sleep in our storms. IT TAKES WORK. And just when you think you've got it, something else comes along and knocks you sideways! But that's ok because we're just little clumps of clay, remember?! And Jesus' favorite job is being our Savior! We're just assuring that He always has plenty of work!
So, dear ones, let's surprise those angels and all of heaven by expecting BIG this Pentecost. Ask BIG and expect BIG! Jesus is SO very hopeful that we will. He is LONGING to come to his broken, frightened people in this broken, messy world. We have turned so far from Him. It will take a miracle power to turn the world around. That miracle power is 100% available and available to YOU. The question remains: Are YOU available to it?
Declaration: In the name of Jesus I decree a double portion anointing of God's power on each of you. I say that there will be increase in a gift of prayer, inner stillness, eyes that see the hope to which you are called, resting in your identity in Christ, and a doubling of an anointing in every gift the Lord has for you. I pray holy boldness upon you and say that you are the head not the tail and you walk in the anointing of the most high God. You will have His eyes to see those in front of you and His Heart to love them. Miracles of love, healing and transformation will happen because of the presence of God in YOU. The gates of hell will not prevail against you, and wherever you are, the enemy must flee. Thank you, Jesus, that this is the inheritance of those who love the Lord!
The Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you today! Let's keep each other in prayer.