Can anyone receive the Holy Spirit?
If a person has repented of their sin and received Jesus Christ as Lord of their life, then they have what the Bible calls the seal or guarantee of the Holy Spirit’s presence in their hearts. This is most evident by the experience of inner promptings and the development of personal convictions. Growing in our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s voice is vital to our spiritual relationship with God. We must learn how to yield our affections to Him.
It is important to understand that the Holy Spirit is God… not an “It” or a “thing”. He, the Holy Spirit is the comforter that Jesus spoke of, who would lead us in all righteousness. In regards to our daily experience with God, we are able to continually fellowship with the Holy Spirit and enjoy the love offered by our Heavenly Father (Rom 5:5). God is a good Father and He works by the Holy Spirit to minister grace for all of our needs to be met (Mt 7:11). This is a wonderful promise of God, that equips us with a confidence in knowing that our sins are forgiven and we have become an “adopted” child of God.
Holy Spirit releases needed fruit into our lives like patience, peace and joy, so that even in the midst of very difficult circumstances we are able to find God’s help and wise counsel to make good decisions. The Bible even tells us that through the Holy Spirit’s counsel in our lives, we are able to have the “mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). God wants us to enjoy the full benefits of a victorious, Christ-centered life and that is why He has told us to ask for the Holy Spirit (Lk 11:13), to yield to the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:14-16) and to never grieve or quench the Holy Spirit’s voice (Eph 4:30 & 1 Thess 5:19).
John the baptist made the declaration about Jesus before He had begun His ministry that He would “baptize” or immerse us in the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:11), so that we would have power to become His witnesses on the Earth (Acts 1:4-8). The entire book of Acts is filled with stories of people having supernatural experiences with the Holy Spirit. Jesus did what John prophesied and poured out a gift that would turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6).
Paul said “be filled… with the Holy Spirit” (Eph 5:18) and meant that we should continually be refueling our fullness in the Holy Spirit, like filling our gas tanks for the journey before us.
I often tell others that the Holy Spirit is inside of me for “me” (so I am continually growing), but He is upon me for “you” (so that I am enabled to release the power of God on your behalf). We truly are equipped with power from on high when the Holy Spirit comes upon our lives to anoint us to do the very works that Jesus did in His ministry (Jn 14:12-16).
The goal of Jesus was to destroy the works of the Devil (Lk 4:18-19)(1 Jn 3:8) and this becomes our mandate as well as He has asked us to follow Him and teach others to do the things He was doing (Mt 28:18-20).
The Holy Spirit is our source of life in God, both for our personal relationship and for the advancement of God’s Kingdom in the world. Receive Him… YES – and offer everyone the same opportunity! We owe the world an experience in the power and love that comes with living the Holy Spirit filled life.
The blessing that God commanded Moses to proclaim over Israel, contains the Father’s heart for His people. In these words we are introduced to the essence of relational blessing… the seeing of His face and the authentic joy of reflecting the light of His countenance. God loves for His face to be seen and His heart to be experienced. He loves for His Glory to shine upon His people. Why? So others see the reflection and are drawn to investigate! David adding this wonderful statement, “That Your ways (God’s ways) may be known upon the earth” (Ps. 67:2). It is one of the most important priorities of God… that His children shine with the light of His countenance and reflect the family resemblance.
“Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O Lord in the light of Your countenance.” (Ps. 89:15)
Seeing His Face:
The face of God radiates with joy and reveals the power of unconditional love! When you see His face, the result is overwhelming. His joy captures the heart and creates within us the sound of joy. It is this sound, the joy of abounding love that enables God’s people to shine with the light of His Glory. Walking in the light of His countenance is the most effective way to conquer sin, overcome our frailties and fight the good fight of faith. God has made us in such a way that when we see His countenance through the “eyes” of our spirit, we reflect His very nature. We are invited to know His heart and experience His mercy, His goodness and blessing. In fact, this is the essence of the ministry of the Holy Spirit… to make the Glory of God visible in the face of Jesus for all men to see with spiritual eyes. The process of restoration, healing, deliverance and all that would accompany salvation… are all products of seeing the face of God with clarity. We are offered the opportunity to see who He really is… and who we can become when we walk in the light (1 Jn. 1:7). We then become a living testimony, a reflection of His countenance to others.
“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:6)
The 3-Fold Nature of God’s Blessing:
- Security – He promises to “keep” us! (Phil. 1:6)
- Grace – He promises to be “gracious” to us… to give us favor! (Rom. 5:20-21)
- Peace – He promises to give us “peace” (shalom)… nothing missing, nothing broken! (Heb. 4:9)
“Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them’. Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.” (Acts 13:1-3)
There is such a reality as “Kingdom Leadership”!
When we talk about the Kingdom of God, we must speak in terms of the Holy Spirit’s leadership and timing (Rom 14:17). God has a plan and purpose for raising up leaders and ministries. Yet the greatest challenge that we face is discernment… how will we know the most effective ways to reach new territory? Prayer and fasting has become one of the most effective disciplines in raising up ministries and leaders. Because the early Church valued this discipline, the book of Acts offers us several examples where the Holy Spirit takes the initiative by calling and anointing leaders that establish new territory… offering new opportunities for the Kingdom of God to advance. When we, as the Body of Christ minister to the Lord first and position our hearts to hear His voice, amazing things begin to happen (Acts 13:2).
Notice, the Apostle Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted while appointing leaders in the churches they had planted (Acts 14:23). We must not overlook the fact, our ministry to the Lord will always give us a more effective platform for commissioning Kingdom leaders. The reason is simple, our ability to know the will of God becomes more clear the more we know the heart of God. Our Father is looking for worshipers (Jn 4:23-24) and speaking to those with an ear to hear (Rev 3:20).
Gifts, Grace and Anointing: Unlocked & Unleashed by the Holy Spirit!
The Apostle Paul explains that Christ has given gifts to men, some as Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11). God gives us a “grace” for the work (Eph 4:7), which means we are to respond from that grace to the ministry by His direction, encouragement and strength. No matter how gifted or popular a person might be, it will always fall upon God to anoint the leader He desires. While we are being equipped, God is refining our character. It is a beautiful work of the Holy Spirit… a miracle of transformation, when disciples are released into Kingdom Leadership.
Jesus said “… he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn 14:12).
Do you want to know the will of God for your life? Here it is… Without question, this is the most direct statement from the Bible concerning God’s intent for you!
- Give Thanks!
The Discipline of Gratitude:
Its a lifestyle of gratitude that God is looking for in His Child! It is a discipline, a witness and a sphere of authority… to live in such a way that others see you as a positive influence in a very negative world. Gratitude is one of the greatest Keys of the Kingdom! It positions the believer to see, hear and respond to things under unique environmental laws – laws governed by the Holy Spirit. Gratitude is a postured heart that moves “you”, your mind, will and emotional “you”… from limitation and fear to optimism and love. The Discipline of Gratitude means we are practicing and producing an attitude of being thankful, even when the future is cloudy ahead of you. This is a real test to our worship as lovers of God, as Christians; we are to be found expressing to the Lord our appreciation and reverence for how He has and still is releasing grace into our lives.
God offers us the Wow Factor!
We are grateful because His blood has redeemed us. As a discipline, this means we are to realize our indebtedness to God and “practice” our faith, in awesome wonder of what He has done for us. It has a relational application in that it helps us deal with others with support and appreciation for how they have benefited our lives. This Discipline of Gratitude enables us to know Him and His will more and more… as we keep our focus on God’s promises and not our circumstances. His provision and care are amazing! They are an expression of His mercy… not merely our experiences. Christianity is not for our personal benefit… it is for His glory. Seeing life from the perspective of what “I can get” or what I feel “I deserve”; rather than what I have already been given, creates “self” problems. We must discipline ourselves to see God as the Father of every good and perfect gift (Jms. 1:17)… and then live out loud (Heb. 13:15), expressing the wonder of His favor toward us. Remind yourself… He is looking for worshipers! (Jn. 4:23-24)
See God as the Father of every good and perfect gift… and then live out loud!
The Kingdom of God should feel normal to the believing heart! Yet, when measured by human reasoning, its beyond comprehension. One law remains consistent in both the spiritual world and the natural world… All things; material and spiritual, are held together by the Word of God’s power (Heb 1:3). To say it another way; God sustains all things by using words that are released from His world- Heaven, into ours- Earth.
God sustains all things by using words!
For God, words are powerful and essential; like the connective tissue, the glue between two very different worlds. They are creative packages that hold His logic and purposes for life as He would want us to enjoy it… abundant and fruitful. He spoke the worlds into existence (Gen 1:3), He calls those things that are not as though they are (Rom 4:17) and He watches over His word to perform it (Jer 1:12). No matter how we perceive life’s experiences, His goal is for our good and not evil (Jer 29:11). In redemption, He has sent forth His Word to heal, forgive and revive the broken.
”The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and Truth” (Jn 1:14).
Our faith grows out of hearing the words of God, believing, knowing and experiencing the Word of God. Jesus explained, “The Spirit gives life, My words are spirit and they are life” (Jn 6:63). We all must come to the realization that as we live in agreement with God’s Word, all will go well.
God’s words are Spirit and Life!
David said, “Your words are a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). Solomon encourages us to hear the Father’s voice, “My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to My words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and they are health to a man’s whole body” (Prov 4:20-23). What David and Solomon were saying, Jesus makes very clear when He faces the devil, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). Abiding in those words offers us the greatest freedom, because His words are Truth (Jn 8:31-32) from God’s perspective.