Acts #67. Acts 19.1-7
On Sunday, I heard a message about hope, listing the reasons we ought to feel hopeful. It hit its mark... at least while I was there.
If we stop and think, we know we have reasons for hope--but we face daily challenges that knock hope right out of our minds and even more importantly, out of our souls...true? So, as people of the Way, how do we live with assurance and trust in God? Fact is, we have power and strength available to us all of the time. That power was promised to us by Jesus, and would come through a person.
Years ago someone said this to me:
"God, I get. Jesus, I think I get ... but I don't get the Holy Spirit."
Fair enough. While the Holy Spirit has always been, Jesus told us he would be in us--that was a big change. That IN US Jesus described is huge--it is the difference in going through each day feeling like you are surviving vs. thriving--walking in faith in Christ with an inner knowing that gives you power and strength.
Jesus himself told us about the Holy Spirit: "I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever- the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. [That was Jesus talking to the disciples on the night he would be betrayed and arrested.]
Further, Jesus said, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.2
And so he did! We have seen Jesus make good on his promise in the book of Acts: Just before he ascended into Heaven from the Mt. of Olives, Jesus said,'you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you...3
~>Ten days later, 'All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit.. ' on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem.4
Some of you are saying right now SOLD! I want that ...
You see, as the people listened, the message of hope and truth in Jesus Christ made sense, and it still makes sense. Plus, there was just something about the man of God, Peter. What he taught was compelling, but so was he, and they wanted what he had.
Friend, the Holy Spirit comes and takes up residence within you when you place your faith in Jesus as the leader of your life, acknowledging your desire and need for him, repenting of your sins. We do not have the Holy Spirit in our lives without relationship with Jesus Christ; that's where it all starts--not through going to church or church membership, not reciting creeds and not Hail Marys. But then, think of it-the Holy Spirit enters your being and makes it his home. Amazing! So if Paul asked you as he did the group of believers in Ephesus, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” your answer would be "Yes indeed."5
Hear me please: this is the key in getting what we believe in our minds to our souls, empowering us to live with hope daily, no matter our circumstances. And what is more--it is not all on us to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps--it is the Holy Spirit within who gives us strength and power, reminds and assures us of his presence.
May the God of hope
fill you with all joy and peace
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope
through the power of the Holy Spirit.6
I pray that these truths will become real for you--that you will learn to walk out the hope that is within you. Perhaps you will need to read or listen to this a couple times to grasp this...
because then you will be able to say, it is well with my soul.
"It is well", powerful song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0dIWJ4t4Jg
1 - John 14.16-18
2 - John 16.7
3 - Acts 1.8
4 - Acts 2.4
5 - Acts 19.2
6 - Romans 15.13