Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Grace, Christ, & Us: Part 5. Full of Him

This is a five-part piece that covers a number of topics. It was written as a continuance, but I chose to break it so it is easier to read. For those who like to read it all the way through, I will post it as such as well. With lots of Love, Chris!

5.       (Full) of Him

Being full of the Holy Spirit brings us ability which we would & could not experience before. And it was not only Jesus that was filled, but many others—from the group gathered at Pentecost (Acts 4:2), to the accounts of Peter (Acts 4:8), the seven chosen to oversee the widows (Acts 6:3) which included Stephen being full (Acts 7:55), Paul (Acts 13:9), groups of disciples (Acts 13:52), and others (Acts 4:31).

Jesus Christ first gave the Disciples the Holy Spirit before ascending into Heaven, and instructing them to wait until it came upon all people as witnessed at Pentecost by the group gathered.

John 20:19-23
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.

Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

When we ask & allow the Holy Spirit to come into us, we become more than just a Born-Again Holy Spirit, we receive, through us, a unique power that allows us to be far greater in His calling than ever. We witness that in Peter’s transformation from one who denied Jesus to a child, to someone who spoke boldly spoke to a crowd of 3,000. This is the boldness the group prayed about & received after Peter & John testified about their persecution.

Acts 4:29-31
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

This boldness, this power, this changing ability, I have seen in my own life. I was Born-Again & water baptized in a pool soon after at the age of 16. Yet, because I did not understand about their being more than that, it wasn’t until I was 40 years old that I accepted & received the Holy Spirit in me.

I can look back on my life & see the Holy Spirit with me. He spoke to me & I would hear Him in many ways through a unique inner feeling that was real to me. At times, it would be a feeling of, “I can’t leave the house right now to go to work”. It didn’t make sense to me. Thoughts of why would cross my mind…from “did I forget something” to “is something bad going to happen if I leave now”. I would not know why, but I would just obey. Hardly was it that I forgot something. Most times it was just an instruction to wait. And after a time, that feeling would change to one of, “now it is ok to leave”. And I’d be on my way.

I can’t explain why—all I know it wasn’t me, so I give credit to the Lord (Holy Spirit). For it may have been to avoid an accident, or my drive would interrupt someone else’s path to protect them. I may not ever know. But I praise the Lord.

The Holy Spirit also revealed to me times He would speak through my actions as a young child—before I was Born-Again. I would often minister to my mom through kind gestures of picking flowers or finding interesting crystallized rocks. This spoke to her as only a mom could understand. And when I did it, I did not know it was the Lord ministering to my mom though me.

Let’s not dismiss the actions of a child as just their innocence or love—for it can be their innocence & innate love that the Holy Spirit is speaking through. That beautiful unquestioning simplicity & innocent, worry-free youth frees a child to hear the Holy Spirit. This is the type of relationship the Lord wants us to have with Him.

Matthew 18:1-5
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

So how did I, as an adult, receive the Holy Spirit in me? I had to humble myself as like a child. This wasn’t a forced behavior or emotional change, this was just letting go of my pride (self-control), and just accepting as true what the Lord promised me. Becoming like a child was to unconditionally trust Him.

A child has an inherent trust to a parent. They don’t have to try & trust a parent, they are just born (created) that way. We lose that trust over time as parents aren’t perfect. But that trust extends to more than just a parent, the Lord designed that unwavering trust to be placed in a True Father—one that is perfect & can be trusted in all things. One whom is always good; He does not manipulate, punish, abuse, abandon, get angry, yells, nor threatens us. This Father is Love (1 John 4:16). And since God is Love:

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Love [God] suffers long and is kind; Love [God] does not envy; Love [God] does not parade itself [Himself], is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its [His] own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love [God] never fails.

We don’t have parents that good. We ourselves aren’t that perfect either. That is why we get jaded in areas of trust. Trust goes from being natural, to trust “being earned”. And sadly, we do that to our Father in Heaven…we expect Him to “earn our trust”. This is why we must let go of our misconceptions of trust as an adult & just trust as a child does—unconditionally and with vulnerability. Vulnerability lets other into our live in relationships; and do we open up our lives (our heart) to Him when we make ourselves vulnerable through the letting go of control.

When I approached the Lord for receiving in me the Holy Spirit, I had to let go of my fear. I had a dad on earth that I did not trust, and that distrust was directed to God. This was very hard for me to do. I was scared!

The Lord, about 8 years prior, ministered to me on receiving the Holy Spirit, but I walled off & rejected it. My religious mind could not accept it. The seeds scattered by friends in my life at that time fell on hardened soil (a hardened heart). But the Lord knew that, and some seeds must’ve remained. For when the time came where I had softened my heart enough, I accepted it. And I fed my heart with as much seed & water as I could: sermons, testimonies, & digging into the Truth myself. So, one day, after listening to some sermons on the Baptism of the Holy Spirit & Speaking in Tongues, I put aside my flesh (fasted), and alone in my loft, sought the Lord. This was the night of May 28th.

I finished the last sermon, and holding true Luke 11:13, I asked the Lord to fill me and also to speak in Tongues. It was extremely scary for me (which was a fear in the flesh). I was asking the Lord for something I didn’t fully understand. I was having to give up control; something the flesh does not like doing. I did not know what to expect. I was afraid of the unknown.

But the Lord keeps His promises and holds true to His on Word. He cut through my fear, my feelings, & my emotions, and delivered into me a Filling that was unmistakably Him! Unmistakable, because I could in no way duplicate the experience on my own or by any earthly means myself.

Everyone will have different & unique experiences. This is just my account (not a representation of God’s only way of doing things, but a single account of God’s innumerable, special, & personal ways in which He moves & reveals His presence!

I was so overwhelmed by the event, that I did not have the energy to stay standing. I laid on the floor & felt His Spirit, His Holy Ghost, fill me up! It was as a balloon filling with water to the point that it feels as it is about to burst. But it doesn’t bust. I didn’t burst; it just pressed on the inside of me outwards a pressure never felt before. And out flowed His Words—His Tongue! A moment swelled up in a Joy from my core, from my heart, was truly the Joy of the Spirit in me. Crying in Joy I laid there, arms & legs outspread from His filling in me. I laid there for about an hour. And with my eyes closed, I could see in the Spirit, Jesus standing next to me as I lay on the floor. His feet just in arms-length from me—so real, I literally moved my arm out to try & touch Him. He personally came to baptize me in the Holy Ghost. He is still and will always be that personal of a God, Father, & Friend! And they: the Father, Son, & Holy Ghost have never ever ever left me.

Deuteronomy 31:6
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

His Spirit, His presence, His Love will be with us—He will never abandon us as orphans (John 14:16-19).

And from that day on, my life has never been the same. Do I walk perpetually in the feeling I got that night of His filling? No. But I don’t require that to know He is in me. But if I do feel that sensation again, I don’t refuse it, but embrace it. But how did I see my life change? He, the Holy Spirit, became my teacher & brought out of the scripture all that which was about the Good News—the Gospel of Jesus & all that that meant!

John 14:26
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Scripture became new to me. The meaning went from condemnation to seeing a Loving God (not a condemning one). Those filters of anger & pain towards God I had began to go away; and I started seeing Him as my Father who Loved me! I now had a compassion for Him & a desire to want to learn & study about this “new” (new-to-me) Father I had never experienced before. I started to head towards Him from being so distant from Him for so long. The Holy Spirit opened me up to a Love I never felt, nor experienced before. His closeness to me. His language in me of Tongues that flowed out.

Mark 16:17-18
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

But boy, speaking in Tongues was hard for my flesh to accept. Maybe it was years of hearing the world make fun of it, or just the fact it wasn’t my flesh producing it that caused such confusion in my mind: doubts about the validity of it, and even feeling like I can’t let anyone know.

But the Holy Spirit persevered through all my doubts & confusion. And out flowed such beauty. It was not gibberish, but I could tell that it had the fluidity of language. At times, it was just distinct & unique. Other times it sounded like an Asian language, or a Middle Eastern language, or an African language. In all cases, it had variety. I would dwell on someone or something to pray on, and the tone, language, & even pitch of it would change. It was though the language was specific to the cause—the prayer language was perfect for whatever I was focused on praying about.

Acts 2:4
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

I just need to let the Holy Spirit do the talking—whether in a Spirit-Language, or in another language on this earth that I may have no personal ability to speak. And this we can do. Just start saying a few words and let (let go of self) and let the Spirit through you & me speak. And when we let Him, whether in English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Korean, Spanish, Greek, Mandarin, or any other known or unknown language, we pray a perfect prayer.

Jesus only spoke the words of the Holy Spirit, even though He was speaking in Aramaic, or Greek, or Hebrew. This is why scripture refers to Jesus as, “and he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying…” (Matthew 5:2). It does not say He spoke, but that He opened His mouth. It wasn’t Jesus Himself as a human speaking; the Holy Spirit spoke out from Him. This is how we speak through the Spirit as well. We form the words in our mouth physically, but it not out of our own mind & capability that we speak from. In a sense, we let the Holy Spirit use our vocal chords to speak through.

This same phrase, “opened his mouth” is also seen with Philip (Acts 8:35), Peter (Acts 10:34), & Paul (Acts 18:14); demonstrating how the Holy Spirit does provide us with the words to say in the moments we need to say them.

Luke 12:11-12
And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Let us let the Holy Spirit be, not only with us, but in us. Let Him flow out from us. Let Him be the words to say to others & to ourselves. This is is such a beautiful thing to be a part of—Him in me, & I in Him—a co-existence. He never wants me to go out & do by myself for Him; He wants us to be with Him & Him with us in the doing of all things. His strength & ability to do so is without diminishment. The Holy Spirit is ours to accept—not for the taking—but for the receiving. All we have to do is ask. That’s all I did.

Matthew 7:7-8
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Oh how wonderful He is!

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