Monday, June 7, 2010

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened - Luke 11:9-10

Some of the best things in life are free.  A stroll on the beach.  A hike in the mountains.  Love.  Friends.  Money cannot buy these things.  Nor can it buy any of the gifts which the Holy Spirit offers.  When we invite the Holy Spirit to be with us, the spiritual gifts He bestows on us are according to God's will.

Many people mistakenly think that the Holy Spirit was only for the first followers of Jesus.  He came in like the wind, emboldened the followers to spread the Good News, and then disappeared when the job was done.  Others want to claim the Holy Spirit for their specific "team".  The truth is that the Holy Spirit is just as busy today as in the early days of the apostles and He will come to any person who asks, regardless of what team we play for.  This non-exclusivity makes some people jealous, just as the early followers resented that a gentile could receive the same gift without being part of the "chosen ones".

Jesus was a radical.  He came to us to turn our thinking and our world upside down.  When we accept His gift of the Holy Spirit, we have an incredible opportunity to become a new creation.  Once we choose to invite the Holy Spirit to be our companion, everything changes.

Please read my earlier post, "Shabbat Shalom" (May 11th), for some background on the meaning of "peace be with you".  In essence, Jesus was offering this gift to everyone He met, including people on the outside.  This made a lot of his followers angry.  Why should sinners be allowed access to something so special?

My favorite gift of the Holy Spirit is the ability to cast out demons.  Jesus was not the only one to do this.  Once He gave His "Shabbat Shalom" to others, they were able to drive away evil spirits simply by invoking the name of Jesus.  As powerful as the demons are in our world, they are no match for Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

The most powerful gift of the Holy Spirit that I have received is the ability to forgive others.  Prior to receiving this gift, any act of forgiveness was not real, only words I said to make myself look like a good Christian.  Inside, I wanted these people to be struck down.  I told people on my team that real forgiveness was just some kind of fantasy for me.  Not for the Holy Spirit.  Once he entered my very soul, He revealed how special these people are to God.  He showed me that these people are supposed to be in my life and that we are to be connected.  He did this in some mysterious way that I cannot explain to you.  I can only tell you that ever since that vision, my life has never been the same.

Your experience of receiving the Holy Spirit will not be the same as mine as each of us receives different gifts.  This is why we are so important to one another.  We NEED to be connected in order for all the individual gifts to work to their full potential and for God's Kingdom to come.

The only reason God's Kingdom is incomplete on earth is because we are the ones who are disconnected.  The Creator is seeking you right now, at this very moment.  The Evil One is trying to get in the way.  Do not be afraid to invite Jesus into your heart.  This will open the door to the Holy Spirit.  You will receive at least one gift, free of charge, that you can use to link up with all of God's people.  All you have to do is ask, and you shall receive...

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