â€œHere we areâ€”Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, the province of Asia,10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the areas of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism), Cretans, and Arabs. And we all hear these people speaking in our own languages about the wonderful things God has done!â€12 They stood there amazed and perplexed. â€œWhat can this mean?â€ they asked each other.
The first mention of the Spirit of God in the Bible is in Genesis 1:2. And the last mention is in Revelation 22:17. From beginning to end, Father, Son and Spirit are One and in all His inspired Word. God’s inspired Word is powerful, comforting, wise, loving and troubling. It is food for my spirit. Sometimes sweet as a Twinkie and other times more like a Brussel sprout. (God has been trying to get me to consume a balanced, healthy diet all along!)
So if the Spirit of God has been part of God’s relationship with His children all along, what is Pentecost all about? I believe that just as Jesus came as God-in-the-flesh, Emmanuel, and took our relationship with the Father to a new level, the Spirit came in a tangible way to do the same. Both are expressions of God’s great love for us.
Here we are, God’s children who come in all sizes and colors. We have grown up in countries, neighborhoods, and in families that have given us traditions and, at the very least, influenced our belief system. Some of us worship on Saturday, some on Sunday. We read the same Bible and yet interpret Scripture in different ways. Jesus came to save us all. He promised the Holy Spirit to us all.
The Spirit speaks to each of us in our own language. In the 1990’s, psychologist John Gray wrote what became a very popular work and catch phrase, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. My husband and I sometimes wonder if we are also from different planets as we often find ourselves in a â€œvigorous discussionâ€ on a subject and as we attempt to communicate our point of view, we find we have the same thought, but we are using different words. We are speaking different languages. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to listen to the Holy Spirit speak to all God’s children about the wonderful things He has done?
The Holy Spirit can bring amazement and questions. From 1995-2000 I watched in amazement as God’s Spirit came in a very tangible way to a neighborhood in my town. We often call these happenings â€œrevivalsâ€ or â€œawakenings.â€ Thousands of people came under the conviction of the Holy Spirit and turned to Jesus as their savior. Thousands received healing in their minds, bodies and spirits. They heard God speak to them in their language and came together to worship Him. I witnessed things I cannot explain. Even these years later, I have unanswered questions. What did it all mean?
How will I respond to the Holy Spirit? What has become known as The Pensacola Outpouring was a revival greeted with great joy by many and disbelief by others. How do I know what truly is the Holy Spirit and what is not? Paul told the church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22) not to reject the Spirit but to test everything and keep only what was good; reject what was evil. What is the fruit of what is happening? Do people love God and His children more? Then it must be the Holy Spirit. Are people critical and destructive? Then it must not be the Holy Spirit.
John 3 tells us about the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus, a Pharisee and by all gospel accounts a learned man. Jesus speaks to Nicodemus about the Holy Spirit. He compares the movement of the Holy Spirit to the blowing of the wind, elusive and not controlled by man. Jesus also says that it is the Holy Spirit that will bring about my â€œrebirthâ€ that makes me brand new. Holy Spirit, You are welcome in my life!
Holy Spirit Come Fill This Place written and sung by Cece Winans