Sunday, June 21, 2009

Experiencing God’s Presence (Part 5)

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen!” (2 Corinthians 13:14).

There is a place called Prayer. It is a place of Intimate Friendship with the Holy Spirit.

Jesus called the Holy Spirit our Friend. Prayer is the communication center where this friendship finds its fullest benefits in our lives. I’m not talking about prayer as a daily devotional practice at the start of the day. Rather, I see it as an on-going interaction that occurs spontaneously throughout the day in every circumstance we encounter.

“I will talk to the Father,” Jesus said, “and he'll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can't take him in because it doesn't have eyes to see him, doesn't know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!" (John 14:16-17).

He then said that our Friend, the Holy Spirit, would “make everything plain to you. He will remind you of all the things I have told you” (John 14:26). And then He added, “He will confirm everything about me.” (John 15:26).

To summarize, Jesus promised that we would never be left alone; that we would have the Holy Spirit as our Friend, always with us – even inside us – making things plain, reminding us of all that Jesus said, and confirming His words as true.

Yet, it would be a safe bet to say that the majority of Christians know very little about the Holy Spirit. This is not unique to the day in which we live; it is a deficiency that has characterized church history for the past few centuries.

Thomas Goodwin wrote in 1660, “There is a general omission in the saints of God, in their not giving the Holy Spirit that glory that is due to His person and for His great work of salvation in us; inasmuch that we have in our hearts almost forgotten this Third Person.” A.W. Pink was far less tactful, “Wherever little honor is done to the Holy Spirit, there is grave cause to suspect the genuineness of any profession of Christianity.”

In 1880, just twenty years after Goodwin made his heartfelt appeal, the Rev. George Smeaton of Scotland wrote, “We may safely affirm that the doctrine of the Spirit is almost entirely ignored.” It seems Goodwin’s earlier words had fallen on stony ground.

Samuel Chadwick articulated the inestimable worth of the Holy Spirit when he said, “The gift of the Spirit is the crowing mercy of God in Christ Jesus. It was for this all the rest was. The Incarnation and Crucifixion, the Resurrection and Ascension were all preparatory to Pentecost. Without the gift of the Holy Spirit all the rest would be useless! The great thing in Christianity is the gift of the Holy Spirit. The essential, vital, central element in the life of the soul, and in the work of the Church -- is the Person of the Spirit.” (Joyful News, 1911).

Odd, don’t you think; at how generally unaware we are of His presence? It reminds me of the confession of Jacob when he awoke from his dream, “Surely God was in this place, and I knew it not!” Strange, indeed, that man can be in the presence of the Almighty – and know it not.

Why not make an intentional decision to meet, and get to know this Friend? He is even now awaiting your reply to an open invitation. Say YES, and you will never live another empty, uninhabited day!


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