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Posts Tagged ‘the Holy Spirit’

Verse 9: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.””

I had a good friend who was a pastor of a local Baptist church. This pastor was invited by another church, out of state, to come be their pastor. My good friend, who was a true man of God, prayed about it, and he asked me and several others to pray for him as well, for he wasn’t certain which way God was leading him. I told him I would pray for him. On the day that he and his wife were to travel and meet with this other church, I managed to get him a letter I had composed; I wanted him to read this letter on the road. In the letter, I told my friend how much I appreciated him as a pastor and as my friend. I also encouraged him that, no matter which way God led, he needed to follow the Lord’s will for his life. I knew my friend wanted to be in God’s will above all else. I told him I wouldn’t pray for him to be out of God’s will, but to know His will, beyond all matter of doubt. To end the letter, however, I did ask my good friend what side of the road he wanted me to put the “burning bushes” on, so he would take that as a sign to stay! Now, I meant that humorously, and I knew my pastor friend would take it humorously as well…the “burning bush” being the sign that God showed Moses, to demonstrate His power and His authority, and so that Moses would know it was indeed the Lord talking to him.

Paul and Silas were in the midst of the second missionary journey. They had intended to go to certain areas, but as the Scripture passage records, the Holy Spirit prevented them from going to certain areas. Then Paul has a vision of a man from Macedonia imploring him to come there. Again, it is God guiding Paul, directing his paths, keeping him from going certain ways and supernaturally guiding him to where He wanted him. Paul was sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading: the Bible doesn’t say how the Spirit prevented him…maybe it was another vision, maybe it was what we might call a circumstance that was God-ordained to detour Paul (I’ve heard those called “God-incidences”). Whatever form they took, Paul knew that God was giving him the signs of where He wanted him.

Like I kidded with my friend above, you need to be on the lookout for the signs God puts in your path to guide you. It might not be signs during a physical journey, but a direction in your spiritual path that God wants you to take heed of. We “follow the map” through prayer, through Bible study, and through seeking God’s direction daily in our lives. If you do these things, it becomes easy for God to send us those signs. We won’t be like the poor clueless folks in Bill Engvall’s comedy routine, “Here’s your sign!”

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verses 2-4: “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

Consider these following personal memories:
• On a high school band trip to Universal Studios Florida theme park, my family attended the Twister Ride It Out© special effects show. The highlight of the show was a Hollywood-style simulation of a tornado on a mock sound stage of a country street. Talk about intense! Even though we were safely behind the guard rail to watch it, we could still feel the wind and the rain and all the noise, as close as we could be to being in an actual tornado. It scared my youngest son so bad, he actually was crying even though he knew it was make-believe.
• My favorite Saturday morning show in the 1970’s was the live-action Shazam TV show. Even though special effects were limited in the 70’s, I always love the way that Billy Batson transformed into Captain Marvel by saying “Shazam!” A lightning bolt would plunge out of the dark sky, strike Billy on the head, surrounding him with glistening energy, and he would “morph” into the adult form of Captain Marvel, as the energy would then collapse into the lightning bolt insignia on the front of his uniform, all while you saw a shifting, cloudy background (the background was more than likely some form of lava lamp, but still it was great!)
• Years later, on a business trip to Los Angeles, I had a short stopover in Las Vegas. I was amazed as we picked up a good many passengers, most of them tourists from outside the United States. The inside of the cabin was literally a cacophony of Spanish, German, French, Italian, and other languages I couldn’t even recognize. The stewardess told me later that Las Vegas was a big vacation spot for many foreign tourists.

Now, those memories came to mind, when I read the supernatural events of the coming of the Holy Spirit to the disciples. A mighty wind, but inside the house. Tongues of fire that settled on each head of those gathered there. The supernatural sound of different languages being spoken, all proclaiming the Lord! I can only imagine what it was like; we tend to do that when we hear of incredible events such as these. We try to picture with what we know, of something that happened of which we were not present. But the disciples were there…and what a start for the Christian church at Pentecost!

Something to think about.

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Verses 20, 23-26: “”For it is written in the Book of Psalms: ‘Let his dwelling place be desolate, And let no one live in it’,” and, ‘Let another take his office.'”
“And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

When Ben Grimm temporarily lost his powers as The Thing, Reed Richards had to temporarily replace him in the Fantastic Four. Why? Because it was called the Fantastic FOUR.

Why do we have alternate jurors for a picked jury of 12 members? Because by law, if one is unable to fulfill the role of a juror, an alternate must fill that slot in order to have a 12 member jury.

So, why did the disciples replace Judas, who killed himself over his role in Jesus’ betrayal? An interesting question. Without going into a lot of detail, I found a quote from http://www.biblestudy.org that sums it up pretty well: “The meaning of 12, which is considered a perfect number, is that it symbolizes God’s power and authority, as well as serving as a perfect governmental foundation. It can also symbolize completeness or the nation of Israel as a whole.” ( http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/12.html )

And, according to the study notes in my Holman NKJV Study Bible, casting lots (before the giving of the Holy Spirit) was an acceptable method for making decisions, knowing that the Lord would rule over this event to make His will known.

The Old Testament references in verse 20 are Psalms 69:25 and Psalms 109:8, by the way.

The disciples were actively waiting on God’s sending of the Holy Spirit. Not only were they dedicating themselves to prayer and supplication along with the women, Mary (Jesus’s mother), and His brothers, but you might say, they were also “taking care of business”. Though they were bringing up the sad fact that Judas betrayed Jesus, they knew it happened in order to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies about the Messiah. Also, they had to fill his slot in their group.

So, when you wait on God’s ruling on a question in your life, are you actively waiting?

Something to think about.

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verse 5: “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

If you have ever been to the beach, you know the feeling when you get hit by a big wave right on the shore. When I was a kid, we use to pretend we were body-surfing by waiting for one of the waves to swoop us up and ride it the few feet into the beach. Of course, we got occasionally swamped by a big wave and entirely inundated by the water, head to toe. Now we would hurriedly stand up or right ourselves so we weren’t washed out to sea, but you understand the feeling. You are completely covered by the water before you come out.

Jesus is reminding the disciples here that John the Baptist baptized with water (symbolically, to show repentance; I read this in the study notes of the Holman Study Bible NKJV Edition), but that soon they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit. I can only guess that the disciples would try to make a comparison in their heads over the water baptism to what this baptism by the Holy Spirit would be. But I’m not going to jump ahead here; that’s covered in more detail in Acts 2. 🙂

What I find comforting is that when we were are filled by the Holy Spirit when we come to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in our lives, it isn’t just part of the way…it’s ALL the way! Not like the Greek myth of Achilles, who was invulnerable except for the heel his mother held him by when she dipped him in the River Styx. We are completely covered, head to toe…just like one of those big waves.

Something to think about.

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