Monday, September 8, 2008

Devotional: Holy Ghost & Fire!

Acts 1:8 "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

Acts 2:4 "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

The purpose of this devotional is to stir you up about praying in the Holy Ghost.   The baptism of the Holy Ghost is real.   As a church and as a pastor, I make no apology for preaching about it or walking in it.   The fact is, our growth is associated with the preaching of the Word of God and the move of the Holy Spirit in our services! People are hungry for God and the things of God.   Our church has been marked by those facts and by many signs and wonders.   We've seen great healing miracles, salvations, people filled with the Holy Spirit and much, much more.  

The early church that we read about in the book of Acts was marked by it.   The move of the Spirit was powerfully evident in the beginning days of the church.   Miracles, signs and wonders, and powerful moves of the Holy Spirit were the things that drew people in.   Those were the things that drew the lost and the spiritually dry into the church.   It's when things are "going on" that people pay attention to and desire to be a part of them.   From Acts 2 and until the final chapter we read over and over the mighty things that took place. In all the Epistles we read about references to the Holy Spirit and our responsibility to act upon the Word of God and those principles.  

Through time, some have said that the moves of the Holy Ghost and the baptism of the Holy Ghost went away after the disciples died.   However, history records people speaking in tongues and signs and wonders taking place 70 years after their deaths.   Church history records the move of the Spirit time and time again all the way to today!   In America, in the 1700's and 1800's we can read about tremendous moves of the Holy Spirit among various denominations.   Great campmeetings on farms and in towns were so powerful that they shut down the bars and taverns.   People were being born again and filled with the Spirit.   People were falling under the power of the Holy Ghost; documented healings and miracles!   Throughout the 1900's, there were healing revivals of the 40's and 50's and, even today, the Holy Spirit is here moving among us!   Many of our founding fathers prayed in the Holy Ghost.   There are many references to the move of the Holy Ghost as they sought the Lord in the proper direction for this nation.   The gift of the Holy Ghost is for today.   Peter said it best in Acts 2:39 where he said, "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."   The baptism of the Holy Spirit is for everyone then and now.  

There are many churches today that seem to suppress the Holy Ghost in church services.   People are told not to lift their hands and worship for fear of offending the visitors in some churches today. People are told in some circles not to pray in the Holy Ghost for concern for the visitors.    We've gone from a charismatic worship service to a "dry milk toast" service in an attempt to appeal to a "wider group."   What is the real motivation in that?   I shudder to think about that one.   The days of "playing" church are over.   It's time to be a doer of His Word.

We cannot take Pentecost out of our Christianity. We cannot take the book of Acts out of our services.   What happened then is just as relevant and powerful today! Maybe even more!   People are hungry for more of God.   It's time to step up and step out!   Jesus told us that the works that we have seen Him do, greater shall we do.   It's time to grow and GO!

It's time to step up!   Those of us who know these things need not to step away, but do it all the more!   Being a Spirit-filled believer also means that we are walking in it.    Let me ask you a question.   When was the last time you prayed in the Holy Spirit for more than five minutes, fifteen minutes, thirty, an hour?   Paul said, "I thank my God I speak in tongues more than you all."

  In I Corinthians 2:9-10 it says,   "But as it is written: " Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God."

There are some things that no man can reveal to you. Only God, thru His Spirit, can. Let's get back to what Pentecost is about and how it changed the church world forever.

Here are seven reasons why we pray in the Holy Ghost.  

1. Tongues Are The First Sign.

Scripture references: Acts 2:4 · Acts 10:46

It's important to realize that speaking in tongues is the first sign that you are filled with the Holy Ghost. It is the supernatural evidence of the indwelling presence of the Spirit.   When you first spoke in tongues, it was the sign that you have received the Holy Spirit.

2. Praying In The Spirit Will Charge You Up!

Scripture references: 1 Corinthians 14:2 · 1 Corinthians 14:14

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 14:2 that praying in the Spirit "edifies" you.   Edify means to charge or to build up.   It is the supernatural way to build you up.   It is the supernatural way to fire you up.   1 Corinthians 14:14 says, "My spirit prays".   It is your spirit with the Holy Spirit within you in direct contact with God.   What a charge!


3. You Are Reminded Of The Spirit's Presence.

Scripture references: John 14:16-17 · Ephesians 5:18-21

Speaking in tongues is the evidence of having been baptized in the Holy Spirit.   But, when you, on a regular basis, pray in the Holy Spirit, you are continually in remembrance of the indwelling presence of His Spirit within you! Tongues should never dry up. As you continually speak, you'll be enriched in your daily walk with Him.

4. It Keeps Selfishness Out Of Your Prayers

Scripture references: Romans 8:26-27· John 16:13

Praying in the Holy Spirit helps you to pray in line with the perfect will of God.   Speaking in tongues allows the Spirit of God to do the praying through you.   Sometimes you don't know how to pray, but He sure does!   It helps in keeping your mind out of your praying and gets the job done right.   The things of God don't come by circumstance they come by your inner man.

5. It Stimulates Your Faith.

Scripture references: Jude 20

"But you beloved, build up yourselves on your most Holy faith by praying in the Holy Ghost."   Praying in the Spirit stimulates your faith.   It will make you more sensitive to His voice and His promptings.   It will make you sensitive to His person.   It will stoke your faith!

6. It Will Keep Your Mouth Clean.

Scripture references: James 3:8

When you pray in the Holy Ghost you are yielding your tongue to Him.   In doing that, you are taking a giant leap towards yielding all your "members" to God.   If you can yield your tongue to Him, you can sure yield the rest of yourself too!   When you are "Spirit" focused you will be less "you " focused.   It will help you to get a grip on your mouth, on your thoughts, and on your walk.   It's all because of your focus.   Pray in the Holy Ghost!

7. It Is A Spiritual Refreshing.

Scripture references: Isaiah 28:11-12

When you rest it always brings a refreshing.   Praying in the Holy Spirit is the rest that continually brings a refreshing to your life.   We all need refreshing all the time.   Praying in the Spirit guarantees your refreshing!

There's much more that can be said about the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.   As James' letter tells us, we must be doers and not just hearers only.   If you will consistently act on the Word that you know and develop it in your life, you will find that you will consistently walk in the victory that's been provided for us through Jesus.   Amen.  

If you are not born again or you have never been baptized in the Holy Spirit and you would like to know more about it, please send us an email or come see us.  

Father:   Thank You for the Holy Ghost!   Thank You for sending a Comforter and a Helper.   Thank You, Lord, for the Holy Ghost.   Thank You for Your leading and guiding me by Your Spirit.   I choose to be more sensitive to Your Spirit in the days ahead and to seek You and know You more.   Amen.