Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Holy Spirit

I'm re posting this message because I think it's key for our time and for our life's as Christians. I haven't lived this for a long time. (Not the way I used to, anyway). I still speak in tongues and have that power in my life, but I'm not in a place, (and I'm talking about my personal life), where I feel like I'm changing the world around me. My first years in Stockholm after I got saved I believe that I was part of a transformation of the city around me. I was influencing my neighborhood, we were out preaching on the streets all the time. I knew I was a different "species" where ever I went. In the grocery store, on the subway, at my job.  When we were flowing out of the church after a service, we were glowing and we were overflowing of God's love and peace and joy. We many times went to McDonald's next door and we brought heaven to that place. Totally. I need the power of the Holy Spirit to love the unlovable. Even to love myself and those closest to me. I can't love in myself. But when the love of God flows through me, that's true love. And it's unconditional. I need to draw from Jesus and be filled over and over again and never think that now "I got it". No, he's grace is new every morning. I need to tap into His river of life every day and every moment for it to work in my life. As soon as we start to produce or reproduce what we know to be right we create religion. We now have religious behavior instead of the abundant life Jesus died for us to have. I don't claim to be anything but a believer that love Jesus and wants to see His kingdom come, but there may be people out there that struggle with this. Maybe you're in a church that doesn't teach this and you wonder why it's so hard to live the Christian life. We're not supposed to live it in our own power or abilities, but in His power and  under His grace. Here's my article again about the Holy Spirit.

Many Christians think that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is just about speaking in tongues and to them it seems odd and not something they want to be part of. It IS speaking in tongues but it's also most of all an ability to just get lost in the spirit. To shout and worship from your spirit in a way that can't be expressed by human words. To express the inexpressible. And I think it makes it easier to give yourself completely over to the Lord and His will. It’s simply to have more of the Lord in your life.

If you're not baptized in the Holy Spirit, ask the Lord to fill you with the signs of speaking in tongues. Speaking in tongues will help you stay filled with the Holy Spirit. The tongues can be used in many ways. To me personally it's mostly a prayer language where I can pray out things that I don't even know about in the spirit. I also worship in tongues where I speak to God about His greatness and His love and His wonderful plans.

It’s a wonderful gift from God to us as believers that will increase our understanding of His love and give us boldness and fire for Jesus.

"On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Acts 1:4-5
Christians know about the day of Pentecost which you can read about in Acts 2:1-4. Many seem to rationalize and try to imply that what happened then were just for that particular time.
Verse 4 says:
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

I think Acts is a model for how we as Christians should spread the gospel. Wherever people in Acts heard the gospel they were also baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. That's how they knew, they spoke in tongues!

"While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God." Acts 10:44-46
In Acts Acts 19:2-6
"he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.”
And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?”
So they said, “Into John’s baptism.”

Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”
When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied."

Here's what John the Baptist said about Jesus:
"I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
 Mark 1:8
than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Matt 3:11 
So it’s Jesus Himself that baptizes us with the Holy Spirit and fire.

In Paul's letter to the Corinthians he talks a lot about the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.
"For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries." 1 Cor 14:2
"He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification." 1 Cor 14: 4-5

Many misinterpret this to say that we should not speak in tongues, but that's not what Paul is saying because in 1 Cor 14:18 Paul says: "I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;"
No, he's just talking about being careful of how to display the tongues in public. I believe it can be done, if it's done in order. We used to pray strong in my church, all together in tongues, but when it came to speaking out loud it had to be done in order and the pastor was in charge of who could speak or prophesy or interpret.
"What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding."
1 Cor 14:15

I think being born again is the greatest miracle of all and of course it is a work of the Holy Spirit. But I believe there's MORE! We, just like the apostles in Acts need to be transformed and filled with the Holy Spirit so we boldly can proclaim the gospel. We are called to proclaim the gospel and not some sophisticated, intellectual, worldly religion. We need power! If we don't have power, the enemy has power over us.
If God hadn't transformed my life I had never set foot in a church. I had no need for conformity or tradition. But when Jesus saved me on that beach in Spain, I couldn't wait to meet my brothers and sisters. And God led me to a church where the Holy Spirit was so strong, His presence came over you already in the foyer and you couldn't walk straight sometimes.
And you were not the same when you walked out of the church as you were when you came in. An ongoing mighty transformation happened all the time.
And you can't hide in an atmosphere like that. You become transparent which may sound scary, but it's not, because the love of God is there to cover you. (Kind of like in the Garden of Eden where they were naked but they weren’t aware of it.) And when you're loved like that it's easy to love everybody. It just flows out of you.
I do believe that speaking in tongues is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit but I also believe that it’s a sign that you are filled with the Spirit. I have never seen anybody flow in any of the other gifts of the Spirit that does not also speak in tongues. I have never seen the gift of prophecy at work for example where people are not spirit filled.

"If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” " Luke 11:11-13
I also think we need the power of God more than ever to win this world for Him. His power is so much stronger than anything this world can offer. We know that, but people out there need to see it through us.