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The Gift the Father Promised

In the Book of Acts, Luke tells us that after the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples several times throughout forty days (Acts 1:3). What was He doing throughout those forty days? He was strengthening them in their faith and teaching them about the kingdom of God. The disciples had to wait 50 days from Christ’s crucifixion at Passover until the Day of Pentecost. On the Day of Pentecost, the Spirit came and filled or baptized (dipped until they were soaked and saturated) them. The fifty days of waiting with the Lord teaching them about the kingdom made them wholly ready and abandoned to God's work. The prayer and waiting time created a thirst that could only be quenched by God the Holy Spirit Himself. They were in a place of dependence on the Spirit because Jesus had left them seven days before the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:3). The 11 disciples were not supermen, they were just like you and me, and entirely needing God's Spirit to accomplish the task of taking the message to others. Dedication and dependence on God to work through them by His Spirit enabled them to complete their mission. It is no different for us.

3After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4On 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 (Acts 1:3-4, emphasis mine).

If the promised Holy Spirit were sent as a gift, why would we not want to receive Him and all He wants to do in us? Some doubt that God will give them the Holy Spirit. Why would God not give the One He has promised? Does God ever hold back on His giving? “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things” (Romans 8:32). I am sure that when God gives a gift with a promise, the least I should do is to receive what the Lord wants to give! I accepted Christ by faith, and when I received Him, the Spirit took up residence in my life, as He does in every life given over to the Shepherd's care. If you are a true believer in Christ, you have the Spirit:

You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ (Romans 8:9 Emphasis mine).

The enemy will try to convince you that you don't deserve the Spirit's working in your life. Who are you going to believe? God has promised the Spirit to you upon your trust in Him. Every one of us who has entrusted our lives to Christ has the Holy Spirit. The more important thing is, does the Spirit have you? Have you abandoned your life to Christ? Does He have ownership and rulership of your life? If so, He might be a resident in your soul's living room, but there may be some rooms that you have not yet relinquished to His rule.

Sometimes people are not filled with the Spirit because of bitterness or unforgiveness toward others; perhaps for them, waiting and introspection helps to focus their minds and hearts on extending forgiveness to those who have hurt them. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what barriers hinder you from knowing His empowerment in your life.

Do you feel that anything is holding you back from experiencing the Holy Spirit's fullness, such as unforgiveness, bitterness, or fear? Take a few minutes to ask yourself, “Am I open to the Spirit of God? Here are a couple of scriptures that show us how God wants to be with us by His Holy Spirit:

15"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:15-18)

13Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:13-14)

There is no need to doubt Him. Take Him at His Word. Keith Thomas


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