Saturday, 5 December 2020

Fan into flame

Without His power and infilling we live a Christian life that is powerless and every day we strive to walk by faith but lack the power to walk effectively.

During the last month I have been reading through the book of Acts.  It is a book I have read many times, and it brought back a very strong memory of when I was 17.  I had given my heart to the Lord when I was nearly 16 and had started a new job as a general dog`s body (sorry Office Junior) at Fort Dunlop.  I met a lovely man named Bernard who upon discovering I was a Christian invited me to a lunchtime Bible study he went to with a few work colleagues.  I think I was a bit of a novelty as being the only one under 55.  They poured over the Book of acts infinitum in this study looking intently at every little word or deed etc, but the study seemed to lack life and concentrate on what the disciples did and not what empowered them to do it.

  Over the years I have read Acts many times and gained something every time but suddenly this time of reading, the reality of one thing has challenged me time and time again.  The Apostles moved in the Power of the Holy Spirit!  Jesus had told them to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power when the Holy Spirit had come upon them and to be His witnesses throughout the world.  

So, they waited together and they prayed and then the Holy Spirit fell and their lives were literally transported into another realm.  Peter who had been left feeling weak and fearful after the crucifixion of Jesus was given amazing boldness to speak out the word of God to the crowd, and 3000 people believed. Constantly the apostles acknowledged it was only by the Power of the Holy spirit could anything happen.  Acts 3:12 “What is so surprising about this? (when Peter prays and the beggar is healed) And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness”  (NLT). Peter recognised that he could not do a thing through his own power or even his own godliness it was only by the Power of the Holy Spirit that the man was healed. The disciples walked and experienced daily the overwhelming presence and Power of the Holy Spirit Acts 4:31 “After this prayer the meeting place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then they preached the word of God with boldness” (NLT) 

This made me ask myself when was the last time I was in a prayer meeting like that?! We read in Acts of the way the Holy Spirit effected the lives of the Apostles in amazing ways. Stephen had an amazing revelation of Gods glory “Stephen being full of the Holy Spirit gazed steadily into heaven and saw the glory of God” Acts 7:55 (NLT) and Philip being directed by the Holy Spirit Acts 8:29-30 “The Holy Spirit said to Philip “Go over and walk beside the carriage. Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah.  Philip asked “Do you understand what you are reading?”  He then goes on to lead the Ethiopian man to the Lord and baptise him.  Then we read V39-40a  “When they came up out of the water the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The Ethiopian never saw him again….  Meanwhile, Philip found himself father north at the town of Azotus”

Wow can you imagine that! The Apostles learned that after receiving salvation and being freed from sins clutches, it was the Power of the Holy Spirit in a person's life that made a significant difference to how they then walk with the Lord in their daily living.  You read so many accounts in Acts of the Disciples preaching and leading people to the Lord but also praying for the new believers to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. They learned that this gift and power is God's will for everyone Acts 10:44 (NLT) “Even as Peter was saying these things the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.  The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles too. For they heard them speaking in other tongues and praising God”

The Lord has been impressing upon me the growing need for us in todays church to again ask the Lord to increasingly fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit.  It seems obvious to me that we cannot function in our lives effectively without it.  Paul clearly explains in 1 Corinthians 12 how the Lord imparts His Spirit into His people in different ways to enable the body to function effectively and powerfully.  Today I think the Lord is encouraging us to recognise that we urgently need the Spirits power in our life.  Without His power and infilling we live a Christian life that is powerless and every day we strive to walk by faith but lack the power to walk effectively. The Lord has been reminding me that the Holy spirit is a gift, a wonderful gift from God and is not meant as an 'added extra' but as the central power source for our lives.  To live without the spirits power is like trying to be a torch without a battery! All the promise of light but no power to give light.

  Because it’s a gift we can ask The Lord to fill our lives with the power and person of His Holy spirit. If we have received this gift already, we need to ask him to re-fill us daily.   Paul reminds Timothy of this in 2 Timothy 1:5-6 ''I remember your genuine faith, for you share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.  And I know the same faith continues strong in you.  This is why I remind you to fan into flames the spiritual gift God gave you when I laid my hands on you.  For God has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity but of power, love and self - discipline.''

We currently live in very different times, we cannot meet together in the usual way, we cannot rest in the security of church life, we cannot assume that weekly church attendance will be what we need to get us through.  I believe we are in a time of preparation both for what the Lord wants us to do after the pandemic, but also for what the Lord wants us to do during the pandemic.  I believe we are to continue to prepare our lives, I believe we are to continue to daily wait on Him and seek power and direction from Him for every aspect of our lives, even to the way we are to pray.  And to practice living in the reality of His provision through the Holy Spirit of power to fulfil what He wants to do through us to effect change and to proclaim His truths in the world we live in.   

Lord help us to fan into flames your gift of the Holy Spirit so we continue to grow in the fulness of the blessing of God every day.  

Author:  Jan Pearson

May God bless and enrich your life

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