Monday, June 5, 2017

You Will Receive Power--Come Holy Spirit

Pentecost Sunday. The day that we celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the early followers of Jesus. This is what the liturgical Church celebrated this past Sunday. And it got me thinking about my own experience with the Holy Spirit.

I was 8 years old and went to a week long summer camp hosted by the prayer group I am a member of.  This is no ordinary summer camp.  While the kids do all the normal "camp stuff," the main purpose of the camp is to help the kids grow in their relationship with the Lord.  On Wednesday night every year, there is a prayer meeting where the kids are prayed over for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit or for gifts of the Holy Spirit.  So, my first experience with the Holy Spirit was on a Wednesday night when I was 8.  I was prayed over for the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and I remember being so overwhelmed by the Lord that I cried and laughed at the same time.  

Since that day almost 30 years ago, I have never regretted that decision I made as a child.  Yes, every believer has the Holy Spirit at work in them already and that is a good thing.  But what I asked for was to experience Him in new and powerful ways.  To more fully experience the life, the work, the fruit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The charismatic experience of being baptized in the Holy Spirit is one of coming into a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, to become open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit operating in one's life, and to begin worshiping the Lord in a particularly charismatic way: loud praise and worship with room given to exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  

Of course all of this didn't happen in one fell swoop when I was 8.  As a child, I had only a child's understanding of what any of this meant.  I knew that I wanted God to be more fully at work in my life and that being baptized in the Holy Spirit would help me get there.  

It was while I was in college that I made an adult decision to live my life fully for the Lord.  My first two years of college, I talked the talk, but I didn't always walk the walk.  The Holy Spirit would knock on my heart and convict me, and I would tell the Holy Spirit to leave me alone.  But the Holy Spirit just kept coming back over and over until finally I listened and set my heart back on the right path.

It hasn't been until the past 5 years or so that I have really started to embrace the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given me.  I used to think that when I tried praying in tongues that I was just making the words up.  But the Lord has taught me that praying in tongues is a powerful prayer.  When I pray for people to be healed, when I pray for people to be freed from the ever-harassing devil, when I don't know what to pray, I pray in tongues.

I practice discernment when I pray for people.  Sometimes they only tell you a little bit of what's going on, but the Holy Spirit puts thoughts in your mind of what might also be going on, and when I share that with the person, it is spot on.  I use wisdom in parenting.  When one of my kids comes to me with a problem or a question, or if I have a discipline issue that I don't know what to do about, I pray for wisdom and wait for the Holy Spirit to lead me so that I can address the situation to His glory.

I even have a gift that I have asked for and am still working on--the gift of healing.  This is one of those gifts where the more you use it, the more it grows.  But you really do have to use it for it to work.  And I am not usually quick to offer to pray for people I don't know well.  Hence why it is a gift in progress.

As an adult, having grown up in an environment where people pray and worship with gusto, where they raise their hands and prophesy, where they ask for and receive spiritual gifts to be used to build up others, where they pray over people for healing and they receive healing?  It is like getting a small glimpse of heaven on earth.

Pentecost serves as a reminder to all believers that God is a Trinity.  He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  May all believers pray for a further outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus promised that He would send His Spirit to be our Helper and Guide and source of Power.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you: and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.  Acts 1:8

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