Quiet Time Musings: For those who follow Church stuff, this Sunday celebrates the first intentional group-on-one direct encounter with God, the Holy Spirit. As I woke I was asking His direction for this visit with you. I began thinking, composing in my mind, and true to form, the Holy Spirit began directing. Here are this morning’s results.
* “Tell them I’m God.” Oh, right. Something simple to start with.
Okay–the OT is chock-full of GOD saying, “My Spirit…” Emphasize ‘MY’. And GOD promises His Spirit to anybody wanting Him. Emphasize ‘anybody’ because that, my friend, definitely includes me and you. Isaiah 43:1-5 and 44:3 talk about God promising, “I will pour our MY SPIRIT on all people…” So does Joel 2:28. Again, emphasize ‘MY’. And understand the significance of ‘pour’ as opposed to ‘dribble out from an eyedropper in piddling little amounts’. Intentional hyperbole.
* Father/Son/Holy Spirit were all present at Creation. Genesis 1:1-2: “GOD created… God’s SPIRIT brooded…” And John 1:1 says, “Before the beginning began was the Word. . . and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. Everything was created through him; nothing – not one thing – came into being without him.” All three of those forms by which God chose to reveal Himself to us were also present when Jesus was baptized. (John 1:26ff)
Later on, Jesus said to the guys with Him, “The Friend, The Holy Spirit whom the Father will send at my request, will make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you” (John 14:25). . . . “I still have many things to tell you, but you can’t handle them now. But when the Friend comes, the Spirit of Truth, he will take you by the hand and guide you into all the truth there is. He won’t draw attention to himself, but will make sense out of what is about to happen and, indeed, out of all that I have done and said. He will honor me; he will take form me and deliver it to you. Everything the Father has is also mine.” (16:12-15)
Okay, Holy Spirit. I think those colorful waterfowl aligned. What’s next?
* “Tell them I have no favorites and that I’m willing to work through them all if they’ll let Me.” ‘Kay. Can I, ah, have some fun with it?
“Don’t you always?”
Ungh. Good point. Okay, then.
Everybody? Acts was written by a medical doctor. MDs in New Testament times were considered to be professional observers whose testimony was highly sought after in legal proceedings because of their precise notes and, therefore, accurate recollection of salient facts. Dr. Luke also accompanied Paul on part of his journeys as his personal physician and companion. His gospel reveals medical terms, though they don’t show up well in English. I wonder if his signature was legible?
Point? Luke, MD knew his professional reputation was directly impacted by whether his writings and testimonies were true. He would not allow his name or title to be associated with anything that couldn’t be backed up by available facts and corroborating witnesses.
He wrote in Acts 1 – 2, and 4:31 that EVERYBODY present and desirous of it was filled to overflowing with the personal presence and amazing ability of God the Holy Spirit.
- Not just those who’d received ginchy embossed personal invitations.
- Not just the ones who’d contributed $1,000 or more to the building fund.
- Not just those with the “right” family names.
- Not just folks with a squeaky-clean record and great credit scores.
“Everybody”, Luke says. ALL of ’em.
Luke had no doubt discussed all this at length with the intimidating apostle. He was one of the few men in the world at the time to be able to ask Paul questions that would nail him and make him think before answering.
So, Paul had thunk this through, too, when he wrote in Romans 8, “You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. . . The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (vv. 15-16)
“So, Dan–where’s this going?” Ah. I’m glad you asked.
Jesus said if we wanted to lay eyes on God all we had to do was check Him – Jesus – out. Know what that means?
Jesus is God’s ‘selfie’. A-a-and know what that means?
Well, think about it. Think about all the selfies you’ve seen. They’re close-ups. Pretty real. They show skin blemishes, age spots, and imperfections that can’t be seen from off a ways.
One ear higher than the other. Nostrils don’t exactly match. One eyelid droops more than the other. Rough, dry, mottled skin. A little flab here or there.
The nature of a selfie is that it’s real.
“Well, yeah, but me looking closely at Jesus to know who God is seems to me a whole lot different than God looking closely at me to know who I am. See, if I’m talking one-on-one with the Holy Spirit, I’m saying something like,
“The closer You get the more nervous I get–the better You know me, the farther away you’re gonna want to get. I’m too damaged. Damaged freight, y’know, Lord? I don’t feel worthy to be in Your presence, let alone expect you to just welcome me and fill me with who and what and how You are.”
Well, I got good news for you: The Holy Spirit DOESN’T DO THAT. He’s eager to work in and through you, His stunning and unlimited creativity and knowledge flowing through your life.
“Me?” Yeah. You. If you want Him, He’ll be there for you. All it takes is the willingness to keep short accounts with Him, to maintain an open, unimpeded channel through which He can pour Himself and His power. And though this or that ‘gift’ is taught by some to be the only authentic means of identifying Him, the only true gift is He Himself.
So. Think you’re too far gone, too bad, too unworthy, too whatever to have the Holy Spirit abiding in you, working His wonderful stuff in and through your life?
The very fact that you’re desiring to have more of Him in your life tells me it ain’t so.
And that, friend, ought to be some great news!
© D. Dean Boone, June 2014