Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Holy Spirit

This morning's revival message was focused on the Holy Spirit.  The following question was asked:

"When did you receive the Holy Spirit?"

Dr. Quanstrom gave four possible answers:

  1. I don't know when, but I do know that the Holy Spirit lives in me.
  2. I don't know if I received the Holy Spirit.
  3. I know exactly when and where I received the Holy Spirit.
  4. I know I have not received the Holy Spirit, or even if there is a Holy Spirit.
When the question was being asked, in my mind I was trying to answer for myself.  I know that at age 11 during a revival in a neighboring church I went forward to the altar at the end of the service.  My Mom came and prayed with me, and I asked Jesus to forgive my sins and to come into my heart.  I refer to that time as when I became "saved", a new born Christian.  I had reached the age of knowing right from wrong, and was accountable for my actions.  

I had stolen a candy bar a few months before and was feeling very guilty about it.  I confessed it to God, but telling Mom was a little harder.  Mom and Dad taught me about restitution...when you do something wrong, you make it right as best you can.  I had to go back to the grocery store where I had stolen the candy and pay for it and tell them I was sorry.  They were so touched that a child would do that, they took my money, but they gave me another free candy bar.  Restitution pays dividends!!

I guess the Holy Spirit came to dwell in me then, for from that point forward I was very conscientious of making the right choices to please Jesus.  When I was 30 and a mother of two young boys, I began to hunger for the full infilling of the Holy Spirit, referred to as sanctification in the Nazarene denomination.  I had an up and down emotional life and carried wrong attitudes.  I wanted something that would make me more like Jesus and be a stabilization force in my life.

After listening to many sermons on sanctification and reading books and asking God to cleanse me, I was finally ready to die to myself and claim His sanctifying power...whether I felt it or not.  One hot Sunday night in July in Cleveland, TN, I knelt at an altar lined with other seekers.  I told the Lord I knew it was His will for me to be sanctified, and I desperately wanted His will in my life.  Therefore, whether I felt His movement or not, I was going to get up and claim He had cleansed me and filled me and set me apart for His purpose.

As I started to get up, in faith believing, the Holy Spirit descended upon that altar full of people, and I was knocked back to my knees. I was crying and laughing and feeling a cleansing wave flowing over me again and though I was on the seashore and the waves kept rolling in and over me.  It seemed like I was all alone on that seashore...just me and the Holy Spirit.  When it was over, and I opened my eyes, it seemed like I could see like never before.  I felt so clean, so full of God's love, so free from whatever had hindered me in the past.  That day a step of faith, believing in God's powerful work of cleansing and filling me with His love, resulted in me feeling like a brand new person.  I believed, and I wanted to share it with everyone. 

The answer to Dr. Quanstrom's question was given by him at the end of the service.  "When are you filled with the Holy Spirit?  When you believe."

How about you...have you been filled with the Holy Spirit of God?  I pray you hunger and thirst after His Gift, and that you surrender to Him when He taps you on the shoulder and says "Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).  This is my will for you...even your sanctification! (I Thessalonians 4:3)"  May you sense the drawing of the Holy Spirit even as you end reading this blog.  He's a whisper away and seeks your heart.  May God be near and answer your prayers!

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