Happy Holy week and Easter Sunday, the joyous celebration of our Christian Faith!
I have been humbly aware of God’s Presence many times since February 2015 when the Holy Spirit zapped and started pulsing through me in a tented church in Khayelitsha, South Africa. I didn’t know what was happening, only that I didn’t want it to stop!
“Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure” Philippians 2:13 MSG.
Like many of you, I desire more than a moral compass to keep me on the right path. Fortunately, God gives us an Advocate to be our conscientious and guide (since we don’t have Jesus walking on Earth any more). The Bible shares that after the Good Friday crucifixion and Rising from the Dead on Easter Sunday, Jesus appeared to the apostles over a span of forty days and spoke about the Kingdom of God:
“For John baptized with water, but in a few days, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” Acts 1:5, “You will receive power* when the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Act 1:8-9 *The power believers receive from the Holy Spirit includes: courage, boldness, confidence, insight, ability and authenticity. That’s some awesome power!
In John 14:16-17 Jesus shares that we will know our advocate, “for He lives with you and will be in you”.
So, what does it look like to have the Advocate in your life? Here’s a “cheat sheet” I created:
- The Holy Spirit is the mark on our forehead, our conscientious in our decisions, the angel and devil arguing on our shoulder, vapor-like, a cloak of fog embracing us.
- The Holy Spirit is our guarantee and deposit for future resurrection.
- The Holy Spirit is a third of the trinity, with God and Jesus. God is in Heaven. Jesus was a physical man who has understanding of living on earth. The Holy Spirit stays with us, and keeps us connected to God & Jesus. All three were active and present at Jesus’ baptism – so amazing! (Matthew 3:13-17 NIV, Also Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:21-22).
- The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God within us and all believers, helping us live as God wants, and building Christ’s church on earth. By Faith we can appropriate the Spirit’s power each day.
- The Holy Spirit pursues us and encourages us to disciple others.
- The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, shows us God’s righteousness and announces God’s judgment on evil, guides us into truth and gives insight into future events, and brings glory to Christ.
- The Holy Spirit was active among people from the beginning of time, breathed on the disciples (John 20:22) and was poured out on all believers at Pentecost (Acts 2).
You can learn about the Fruits of the Spirit and the Spiritual gifts the Holy Spirit provides by reading Galatians 5:22-26 and 1 Corinthians 12:1-12. **Please add more to this cheat sheet in the comment section below.
Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “For where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.”
I recently shared this verse with my daughter’s Bible study as encouragement that they aren’t alone, that they always have Jesus, and now they have 12 Bible study buddies nearby when they need support, agreement, or a friendly ‘Hi’. They loved it. We are so lucky that God isn’t confined to a space, nor does He discriminate: He desires the young, the old and all the souls in between…to all the ends of the Earth (Acts 1:8).
This was evident to me a few weeks ago while attending a diversity meeting. It was a powerful meeting. My heart is broken by the number of stories of ignorance, naivety, bullying and racism right here in my community. The conversations were challenging, yet the Holy Spirit was in that room too! Again, Amazing. The Holy Spirit’s strong vibe was pulsing through me, just like in that tent in Khayelitsha. My friend, who is the leader of the parent group, shared with me the following day, “My processing today is being done differently, today it is through a lens of God’s love and incredible power. He provided three women coming for their first time, at just the right time, to make it known He is all over this work”.
It is amazing to witness the Holy Spirit working within and among a group gathered for His purposes. It’s also amazing to realize God chases after us. I have the pleasure of spending 90 minutes monthly with a small group of women who are leading friends, co-workers, children, and even strangers to Christ. Recently, we decided to share our backstories of how we accepted Jesus into our lives. As we went around the room, we heard a common word woven through all our stories … Pursue … the realization that God relentlessly pursued each one of us, the discovery of how intentional He has been over the years, and the acknowledgement that He doesn’t give up. Each one of us accepted Jesus at different ages, and each has been the Prodigal daughter (Luke 15:11-32) veering off the path now and again, yet once we return to the love and protection He offers, by the power of His Holy Spirit, God graciously welcomes us back to His flock and His path.
“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.” Luke 12:32
To be like Christ we must train ourselves to think like Christ. To do that, we need the presence of the Holy Spirit. When we are faced with a difficult decision, our first step should be to pray for the Holy Spirit’s power and guidance. And it’s not just for us. Jesus’ last spoken words were the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19) “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.
That is God’s Love.
It is available to all of us if we RECEIVE Him as our Heavenly Father.
My desire is for my family, my friends, my community and the friends I haven’t even met yet to receive the Gift of Eternal Life.
All we need to do is ask…and then receive.
“If you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved” Romans 10:9-10
Erin, Jen, Julie and I sure would love you to comment with additions for my Advocate Cheat Sheet and please, please, please, share your story of God pursuing you.