“He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness will be preached in his name to all nations…You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:46-49
As I was praying about this new year yesterday, I opened up to Luke 24. Jesus is telling his followers as he about to ascend into heaven (its better that he went, guys!) about the “promised gift” of the Holy Spirit. What a gift! I think I could read that passage 1000 times and still get wrecked every time. He died. He rose from the dead. He sent the Holy Spirit…!!!!! Its done! What more do we need to know???
Then I heard him whisper, “What day is it? its 1/8.” January 8th….
So I flipped on over to Acts 1:8— guess what it said? the exact same thing:
“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. 5 For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit….you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth.”
“The gift my Father has promised.”
again- wrecked. Its a promise. Not a promise for later, but a promise that has already been fulfilled. Its a guarantee. He has poured out his spirit, and we are those who cry “Abba! Father!”
Not only for me personally, but for his church and for the city of Birmingham-
I believe that this is a word for 2015.
“Wait in the city until you are endued with power from on high.”
We are only waiting on ourselves- Waiting for our minds to be renewed in his presence. Waiting for our hunger to bring us into his promise.
Theres nothing I would rather wait for than for His Presence. There is nothing else I want to give my life to, give my all for, than to see his manifest presence come in a way that I haven’t seen before. I pray it would be as if the history books of Birmingham AL were re-written, because no one will be able to remember what it was like before God came to our city.
I will end with sharing something God spoke to me a few weeks ago. Sometimes I go sit in my prayer closer- like, my real closet. ha. As I was talking to Him, a cry came from my heart. All I could do was ask for his power to overcome. Power to overcome feelings of powerlessness, power to heal the sick and to raise the dead, power to overcome every circumstance. He took me to John 15. I love this translation in the message:
4 “Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can’t bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can’t bear fruit unless you are joined with me.
5-8 “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.”
boom. It hit me so hard! Lets just go back to this one line: “..you cant produce a thing.” HA. That is good news my friend. We try so hard, in our pride, forgetting this basic truth. And he ends with this: “This is how my Father shows [the world] who he is….when you produce fruit, when you mature….”
How do we show the world the Father? Grow up. Into him, into the vine- coming to the end of ourselves and our own efforts to bear fruit for him. When we bear fruit, they will see Him. When we mature in our humility and childlike-ness… they will see him. When we give up and rest in his work… they will see him. Apart from the work of Holy Spirit- we cant do a thing.
He then took me to John 14:26. Again, Jesus is talking about sending the Holy Spirit after he ascends into heaven..
“But My Father will send The Friend……”
He didnt say, The power you need to overcome. He didnt say the power to heal, the power to raise from the dead. The power you need to overcome the world….”
He said “The friend.”
If there is one thing i have learned… it is this:
His friendship is all we need to overcome.
His friendship is the power I need.
His friendship is Life-
His friendship is The Gift.
“They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different; right and left they sent the demons packing; they brought wellness to the sick, anointing their bodies, healing their spirits.”
Mark 6:12 The Message
What an invitation given
To those with open hearts
And tender spirits
A doorway on the inside
Into realms of myster-y
A journey of communion
What a holy consecration calling
Into chambers rich with love
quiet with the presence of God