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Activating Power in Your Life




 

Aloha Ladies! Welcome back!

 

Let me ask you something…. Would you say that you know God?   I mean, really know Him? Before coming to Hawai'i, I would have confidently told you I know God. The one true God- the triune God- God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.   Heck, I'd spent my entire life professing to be a Christian. I accepted Jesus as my Savior at the age of 17, and I was water-baptized. I spent most of my adult life in the church, serving, leading, attending conferences, and even going to Zambia, Africa, on a mission trip.   Of course, I knew God!

 

But I was in for a rude awakening after only a few months of arriving in Hawaii,  as I experienced my first moment of doubt, which came in the form of a church membership application.    Now, if you tuned into my earlier episodes, you know that we immediately found a local church that welcomed us with such love and open arms that we had no doubts we had found our new church home.   So, when we finally decided to join this church, I became pretty dismayed to come across a question on their application that I could not answer- a question that, at first, I naively thought might disqualify us from joining. 

 

The question you ask?     Have you been baptized by the Holy Spirit, and when?

 

I had never heard such an expression before, and I had no clue what they were talking about!   So, I immediately questioned the Pastor and was relieved to hear that it was not a disqualifying requirement! Instead, he shared their belief that there was such a thing as Holy Spirit baptism, and he encouraged me to do my own research and make decisions for myself.  

 

That's precisely what I did, and in the process, I learned that I had been missing out on a significant truth my whole life and realized that I didn't fully know God at all!    So, in my jubilee year at 50, I set out on a quest to understand the Holy Spirit, and my life hasn’t been the same since!  

 

This may be old news for you, and you already have a complete understanding of the Holy Spirit and an excellent relationship with Him. Still, I'm betting many women are listening right now and are in the same place I was- not completely understanding exactly who the Holy Spirit is and why He is so important!    

 

With that said, today, I want to share what I learned and why it is necessary for life change and freedom! 

 

To begin, it isn't enough to know there is a Holy Spirit, although at least that's a good starting point.   What’s important is to 1) understand who He is, 2) what His role is in our lives, 3) how He is accepted & activated, and 4) why our relationship with Him matters.

 

To answer these questions, I began by first diving into Scripture- what does God’s word say?

 

The first mention of the Holy Spirit in the Bible comes in the very second sentence- Genesis 1:2:

 

“Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”

 

The Bible reveals that the Holy Spirit was alive and active in both the Old and New Testaments.   We see how the Holy Spirit gave wisdom and power to the judges, warriors, and prophets. Most importantly, we see that the Holy Spirit influenced the Prophet Isaiah to prophecy in the Old Testament about the coming of Messiah.

 

This brings us to the New Testament, where we see in Luke 1:35- that the Holy Spirit was present before Jesus was born when the angel tells Mary- "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

 

Later, we see at the baptism of Jesus that the Holy Spirit was not only present but physically seen. Matthew 3:16 says, "When Jesus was baptized, he went up immediately from the water. The heavens suddenly opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him.”

 

Jesus taught about the Holy Spirit, had a relationship with Him, and urged His disciples to receive Him into their lives!

 

In fact, before Jesus left this earth to be with the Father, He promised to send the Holy Spirit to us. John 14 verses 15-17 says:

 

If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.  

 

Honestly, I knew all of this- what I really wanted to know is what this business about "baptism" in the Holy Spirit is.  

 

This is what I found in Scripture, and it surprised me…

 

Contrary to what I had believed my whole life, the Holy Spirit was just an "automatic bonus" the moment you accepted Jesus, and there was just one baptism with water; the Bible tells us so much more.

 

First, there are three distinct baptisms:

 

This first one is where the Holy Spirit brings us to the knowledge and acceptance of Jesus. Most people recognize this as the "prayer of salvation."  But another way to say it - is the baptism of blood- Jesus's blood- His sacrifice given to reconcile us to the Father. 

 

The second one is water baptism, just like Jesus did before his ministry- he was baptized by John the Baptist. As believers, we are called to be baptized by water as it is the process of rebirth- symbolizing our old selves who have died, washing away our past, and putting on our new identity in Christ.

 

The third baptism is the one I was utterly clueless about-  The baptism by fire.   Just like the first, it is a spiritual baptism, except this time, Jesus brings us to the Holy Spirit to ignite the fire within, unleashing the same power that raised Jesus from the grave!  

 

1 John 5:7–8 speaks of these three and shows that the blood, the water, and the Spirit are all in one agreement.  

 

Acts 2:38 tells us to repent (salvation), be baptized (water baptism), and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (baptism in the Holy Spirit).

 

Finally, we see all three of these played out in a wonderful testimony discussed in Acts 19:1-7 where the Apostle Paul writes:

 

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers.

 

 Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.

“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

 

“Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked.

And they replied, “The baptism of John.”

 

Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.”

 

As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

 

I have to admit this story gave me comfort. Because when Paul encountered these men, they were believers in Jesus. Yet, they didn't know the first thing about the Holy Spirit, had not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and Paul didn't condemn or chastise them.     They eagerly wanted everything God had promised, including the Holy Spirit, and all Paul had to do was lay his hands on them. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit came upon them, and the proof was their new ability to speak in other tongues and to prophesy.     

 

In all of this, we can see that the power of the Holy Spirit just didn't happen because someone believed in Jesus.   No, there were additional events that took place.  

 

It's important to understand that the only one needed to have eternal salvation is the first baptism. The other two don't have eternal ramifications, but they impact your life because they enable us to live our best lives now.   Lives that are free from the past, lives filled with wisdom and revelation, and lives supercharged with power!

 

I love how the Apostle Paul speaks of this in his letter to the Ephesians found in Ephesians 1:17 - 20:

 

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you may know him better.

 

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

 

Wisdom, revelation, enlightenment, hope, riches, and power?   Who wouldn’t want this?   Who wouldn't want supernatural strength to weather any storm that comes our way? Resilience and fortification that will allow us to stand against any attack or persecution! Power to bring about change. Power!

 

I love this analogy from Priscilla Shirer- she says the Holy Spirit is like popcorn.   What makes popcorn pop is a tiny, microscopic drop of water inside each kernel of corn so that when you place that bag of popcorn inside that microwave, the heat is not heating up the kernel; instead, it's heating up the little drop of water inside. As the water heats, it starts to develop steam, which creates more and more pressure until, finally, the kernel POPS opens, and you see an entirely different item. It wasn't because you heated up the shell but because you heated up what was on the inside!  

 

The inside was activated!!!   There was a process- an event- that needed to take place for change to occur! 

 

Wow, I realized in all this that I was missing out!    I was missing the POWER of the Holy Spirit- being activated in my life! I was trying to do everything on my own and totally dismissed His working presence!

 

Now, if this wasn't enough, I realized that not only was the Holy Spirit not activated, I didn't really understand that He is a person! Just like Father God. Just like Jesus.   He has personal attributes- feelings. He can be insulted, saddened, angered, and grieved. In fact, Eph. 4:30 warns us, "Do not grieve the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” 

 

The Holy Spirit's job is to live within us- to convict, cleanse, and empower us. He is called to help us in our weakness, comfort, guide, remind, teach, counsel, intercede, and advocate for us. There is no area of life in which we don’t need His presence and help!   Only through the Holy Spirit can we go through the process of sanctification- that process that changes us, matures us, and makes us more like Christ. We cannot accomplish this on our own!   

 

During all this,  I found this quote: "The greatest insult to the Holy Spirit is not our sin as much as our indifference living our life as though He doesn't exist!"

 

Man, that one stung! Because I had been living my life that way.   Checking off all the boxes of religion and tradition.   Doing life my way. Thinking I’m all good because I  accepted Jesus, and was water baptized. Not realizing that I was missing a HUGE PIECE OF THE PUZZLE to living a life of freedom. 

 

At this point, I knew I needed to do something!   I just wasn’t sure what!    So, the day I found myself at the garage dump with a woman I had just met at church, and she offered to lead me through the prayer for Holy Spirit baptism- I said YES! Like the salvation prayer where I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, I had a choice. So on that day, I prayed-  this time simply asking Jesus, my Savior, and King, to baptize me in the Holy Spirit so that the power of His resurrection would work in me and transform me according to His will. I asked the Holy Spirit to empower me and fill me to overflowing. That I would hold nothing back from Him. I wanted Him to be alive and active in my life- giving Him permission to minister and work on my behalf! 

 

From that day, my life has not been the same.   I was not only baptized by the Holy Spirit but a few weeks later, I was water-baptized again.   This time, at the age of 50, in the ocean off Coconut Island- I surrendered myself totally to Adonai.

 

Now, I’m walking in freedom and power. I'm free from anxiety, free from insomnia, free from cursing, and I've experienced supernatural healing.    

 

Today, I can tell you who the Holy Spirit is and what He has done in my life! 

 

Here's the thing, ladies: God is such a gentleman that he will never demand and push. He will never force himself on you.    He waits patiently and extends His good gifts to you over and over, desiring that one day you will accept them! They are yours, and they don't expire!    

 

If you haven’t activated Him in your life, don't be like me- wasting time in my ignorance and missing out on so much!    Making life more challenging than it needs to be!    No, do it right now!   Stop being that hard kernel shell- holding onto the speck of water and thinking you can change yourself!     

 

Holy Spirit is REAL, and it's never too late to activate Him!

 

 

 

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