Christians believe there is a trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. The “Three in One” … sometimes hard to understand, validated by verses such as Genesis 1:27 where God says, “Let US make man in OUR image…”, attempted to be explained to our mere mortal minds by an egg (yolk, white, and shell – 3 parts to make 1 unit).
Often neglected – at least in my opinion of the churches I’ve attended – is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I think we are either unaware of Him or maybe even afraid of Him … at least I was warned that those who were “getting in the Spirit” were maybe not genuine, relying too much on an emotional experience, or being swept away by false doctrines. I don’t want to offend anyone so I won’t cite any names, but these warnings were often given in relation to some preachers’ very high energy, emotion-driven, power-of-positive-thinking, health/wealth religion TV programs …
I have heard good sermons on the Holy Spirit too or read books and learned more about the Holy Spirit in classes at Bible college as well. While I take the Holy Spirit pretty serious, after all, blaspheming the Holy Spirit is a very grievous sin mentioned in the Bible (Mt 12:31), I don’t know that I am constantly as aware of His working in my life as I could be. I have heard it said that the Holy Spirit is somewhat of a quiet voice, almost like a part of our conscience, and we have to make an effort to be aware of His working … and I love the fact that the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit prays and intercedes to the Father on our behalf, particularly when we don’t even know how to pray as we ought (been there, done that often!) – Romans 8:26-27.
Something I will say about the new church we have been attending here in Arkansas is that my husband and I come home saying we felt the Spirit of God. That’s a really unusual term for us to use because it is somewhat a new part of our thinking. This church is quite unconventional in its service times and the format of its services in general (you rarely get the same format 2 Sundays in a row!) … but you come away KNOWING if you aren’t coming out with a new challenge or a renewed focus on your life as a Christian that you didn’t pay good enough attention.
Sunday after Sunday I find tears in my eyes as recently the ordained men and leaders in the church have been giving their testimonies in the services. These men are CHANGED … “saved” as we call it in our Baptist circles … many radically, some out of really bad circumstances and after making really poor choices, others just decided to follow Jesus. Over and over, we are hearing stories of true REDEMPTION. That’s what it is pure and simple … a man coming to the end of himself, realizing he can do NOTHING to save himself, and believing that only GOD through Jesus’ sacrificial death can give them life eternal. Not only that, but these men are grateful and can’t help but share this message over and over to others still in despair. THIS IS REAL, the genuine article, proofs in the pudding.
There have been times in my life where I have felt closer to God than I have others … there have been times I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that God was WITH ME (as He is always … but I mean WITH ME so apparently), never more so than during some stressful times in the last year. But now, I am made more aware of God in my day-to-day life too. Not just in the crisis, not just when I am distressed, but on an average day. This is where I want to dwell … sadly, I know that I will forget, I will stray, I will sin and walk a little further away for a while … but I hope that in writing this blog post, I will remember today and come back.
I want to remember this day when I listened to the Word of God with tears, and my husband spontaneously reached over and held my hand as we sang an old hymn “Come Ye, Sinners, Poor and Needy” that he introduced me to over 20 years ago (from a CD he owned) when we were newlyweds, a song I have never sang in church (though it was written somewhere around 1835!) until today. Here are the words:
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and power.
I will arise and go to Jesus,
He will embrace me in His arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior,
O there are ten thousand charms.
Come, ye thirsty, come, and welcome,
God’s free bounty glorify;
True belief and true repentance,
Every grace that brings you nigh.
Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all.
View Him prostrate in the garden;
On the ground your Maker lies.
On the bloody tree behold Him;
Sinner, will this not suffice?
Lo! th’incarnate God ascended,
Pleads the merit of His blood:
Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.
Maybe I’ve been missing out on NOT being more aware of the Holy Spirit until recently … perhaps you’ve understood His ministry better or differently? If so, please do share your thoughts with me!