Paula, Kara and I have experienced considerable technical difficulties this week with our Web TV equipment and so instead of sending you a video today we chose to share these thoughts that the Lord has put on our hearts. It regards the discovery and might and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.
First, a little background. For five years Paula and I lived in Pasadena, California. That’s where we attended college, dated, got married and had our first apartment. I first took particular note of Paula when she was a Princess in the Tournament of Roses and I saw her on a Parade float the same year that Billy Graham was the Master of Ceremonies. Because of Paula’s position we were able to get tickets to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game for years thereafter.
One year during the Rose Parade, a great-looking float suddenly sputtered and coasted to a stop. The entire parade behind this float had to stop. The float had run out of fuel. All was held up until someone could literally bring a can of gas over to the float and pour it into the fuel tank to get it moving again. Ironically, the float represented was the Standard Oil Company! I still laugh at this. With its vast oil resources and empire, the company float had run out of gas in front of millions of people.
In very much the same way, Christians often neglect their spiritual fuel supply. And although they may have been filled with the Holy Spirit in the past, they are unaware that each and every one of us need to be re-filled daily. A wonderful evangelist in the 1800’s, named D. L. Moody, was asked why he needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit regularly. He replied, “Because I leak.” We all leak. In other words, our spiritual fuel supply drains away a little every day. We all eventually run out of fuel and need the renewing power of the Holy Spirit to recharge our lives.
In Ephesians 5:18, Paul wrote: “Do not be drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Let’s discuss how and why we should be filled continually with the Holy Spirit.
Christians today vastly underestimate their need for the power of the Holy Spirit in their daily life. If you wonder how I can be so sure of this, it’s because Paula and I did the same thing for years before we learned just how critically important the Holy Spirit’s role is in our lives. In our early marriage, we had heard of the Holy Spirit but had almost no clue as to how to access the Spirit of God for power in daily living. We also see and hear what is happening in the lives of those around us today. Most underestimate their need for the Holy Spirit.
If we really believe and understand what the Bible tells us about the Holy Spirit, I think many of our worries would be over. If Satan doubled or even tripled his attack against you, even then you wouldn’t fear. The greater and more powerful Holy Spirit, who lives within you–and wants to live through you–would daily give you the wisdom, strength, power and all provision that you need to trample Satan under your foot.
The Holy Spirit desires to give us the strength and boldness to overcome trials and temptations. Let me ask a quick question. What would happen if Jesus Christ appeared to you in the flesh today? How would you act if He wrapped His arm around your shoulders and said that from now on He would be physically present with you in each and every situation throughout your day?
Imagine it for a moment. If you or a loved one became sick, He would simply lay His hand on you or your loved one and you would be healed. If you needed financial provision, He would pray to God and ask for a multiplication of your resources. If you weren’t sure how to handle a problem that came your way, He’d tell you exactly what to do.
Under those circumstances wouldn’t you be extremely bold and confident? Anytime you ran into trouble you could just look over at Jesus standing right next you, and you’d have sudden strength and courage because of His physical presence and power, right?
But then here comes the problem. The reality is you and I don’t have Jesus standing right next to us in the flesh taking care of our every need. He is currently sitting at God’s right hand until His return. You can’t see Him or touch Him. But here’s great news from the Bible. You and I have something even better. Sounds strange, but it’s true. At first it seems hard to believe that there’s something more wonderful than the physical presence of Jesus. But in reality, there really is! Jesus said so Himself.
In the hours just before He was crucified Jesus told His disciples that He would be leaving them and returning to His Father in heaven. And when they expressed dismay and sorrow, He said: “I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another comforter, that He may abide with you forever: even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive, because it sees Him not, neither knows Him: but you know Him: for He dwells with you, and shall be in you. I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the comforter will not come to you: but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” John 14:16 – 17, 16:7.
We need to fully grasp the impact of what Jesus said. We need to realize that Jesus was talking to a group of men who had followed Him day and night for three years. They had enjoyed perfect protection. They had complete provision at His hand. They had seen miracles again and again.
Peter was sitting there among them and if you can for a minute just imagine with me what was running through his mind. He was likely thinking about the first time Jesus had borrowed his boat. After Jesus had finished preaching from it He said to Peter, “Grab your nets and go catch us some fish.” It was the middle of the day and Peter knew it wasn’t the right time of day to catch fish. The water was too clear and the fish would see the net and scurry away.
You may know the story. Even with his natural limitations of personal experience, Peter did just what Jesus said and Peter ended up with a boat-sinking, net-breaking load of fish. Peter began learning that Jesus had power and that He truly was the son of God. He also learned that when Jesus spoke, He should listen and respond.
Then there was a time when Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law of a deadly fever. Jesus cured her instantly!
And I don’t know what could’ve been more dramatic than what happened on the Mount of Transfiguration. On that particular day, Peter actually saw Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus. He watched the body of Jesus transfigure before his very eyes. He saw a shining cloud of glory and heard the amazing and awesome voice of Almighty God.
When Peter remembered these events he must have wondered, how can it possibly be expedient or to my advantage for Jesus to go away?
Jesus knew that the same question was in the heart of each and every one of His disciples. Jesus said, in essence, “I know it’s hard for you to believe, but trust Me. I’m telling you the truth. It literally is better for you if I go away, because if I do, I can send the Holy Spirit to not only be with you, but be in you!”
The strength of God
It’s been over 2000 years since Jesus spoke those words. And most Christians want to follow diligently after Jesus, but are still struggling to fully believe what He said about the Holy Spirit. Theologically, we believe it’s true. We thank God that we’re born again. Some thank God that they are baptized in the Holy Spirit. But then we open our mouths and speak things like, “If I could just feel Jesus’ hand on my body to heal my sickness, it would sure be a lot easier to receive my healing.” Or we might say, “if Jesus was standing right next to me, and would go with me everywhere I go, then I could do what He’s asking me to do.”
Now why is this?
I believe it’s because we haven’t completely appreciated the might, the power and the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our personal lives that we haven’t yet received the full revelation of Who is living inside us. We don’t understand that we have the ability–and the command–to be filled and refilled with the Holy Spirit daily.
Many Christians, for example, seem to think that the first time the Holy Spirit really did anything of significance was on the Day of Pentecost. But that’s not true. The Holy Spirit has been at work on planet Earth ever since the very beginning. If you take a look in the book of Genesis you can see for yourself. In the first few verses we find: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, let there be light: and there was light.” Genesis 1:1–3.
If you think about that for a moment… the Holy Spirit was hovering, waiting to create. At the moment God spoke the words, “Let there be light” the Spirit of God sprang into action and blasted this universe into existence. Yes, I believe in the Big Bang… And this was it! God spoke it. This is also how the Bible introduces you and me to the Holy Spirit!
You see, the Holy Spirit is the strength of God. He is the power of God in the earth and in you. Every time you see God’s power at work, you can be sure that the Holy Spirit is on the scene.
When the Holy Spirit came upon Sampson, he single-handedly killed 1000 Philistine soldiers. (See Judges 15:14 – 16). Imagine how embarrassing it must’ve been for the Philistines who escaped. They probably went running back to headquarters, breathless and beat up with the story of this terrible massacre. I can almost hear the commanders response?
“1000 men killed? 1000? Are you sure? That’s awful! How many Israelites were you up against?”
“Well, sir…uh. Actually just one.”
A lot of people get the idea that Sampson was able to do these great exploits because he was a giant of a man, somewhat like Goliath. But in reality, he was just an ordinary person. He only became extraordinary when the Spirit of God came upon him.
The prophet Elijah was the same way. On his own, he was just as normal as you and me. In fact, he was once so frightened by the threats of a woman that he hid in the wilderness and asked God to kill him so that he wouldn’t have to face the woman.
But when the Holy Spirit came on him, Elijah was a powerhouse. He once called down fire from heaven, killed 400 profits of Baal, and outran the King’s chariot, which was likely pulled by the fastest horses in the nation of Israel. And he did it all in one day. (Take a look at first Kings 18–19).
We’ll continue more about the Holy Spirit next week. In the meantime allow me to make a suggestion. Pause now and ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit… or refill you. Luke chapter 11 says that if we ask our Father for the Holy Spirit… He will give us the Holy Spirit, but we must ask with faith. We must also make room for the Holy Spirit in our lives. If we’re holding on to doing things “our own way” He won’t argue with us. The Holy Spirit is sensitive–a gentleman. He will only go where He is truly wanted and where He is given place.
Then instead of thinking about your problems and your personal inadequacies, take out your Bible and study the acts of the Holy Spirit. If you can access a computer just look up all the things that the Holy Spirit did from Genesis to Revelation. Then meditate on the power and the sufficiency of the Spirit of God who lives in and walks with you every moment of your day.
This week, when you begin to realize that you and the Holy Spirit are a dynamic team, Satan will not have power over you any longer. Like a jet aircraft, you can takeoff into the realm that is exceedingly above all you can ask or think according to the power that works in you.
There’s a lot lot more to share about the Holy Spirit so stay tuned. Paula and I love you and we are praying for you. We are believing God’s best for you and for your family and for your business or vocation. Regardless of what you go through this week–remember, with God nothing is impossible.
God loves you and you can trust Him. He is forever faithful.
Dale and Paula
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