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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 Christ doing throughout those forty days? He was strengthening 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 Holy Spirit came to the 120 disciples and filled or baptized them (dipped until they were spiritually soaked and saturated). Over fifty days, the Lord teaching them about the Kingdom of God made them wholly ready and abandoned to God's work. The prayer and waiting time created a thirst that only the Holy Spirit could quench. The 11 disciples were not supermen; they were just like you and me and needed God's Spirit to take 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 was 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? “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 to the Shepherd's care. If you are a true believer in Christ, according to the Word of God, you have the Holy 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 Holy Spirit's working in you and through you. Who are you going to believe? God has promised the Spirit to you upon your trust in Him. Everyone who has entrusted their 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 you have not yet relinquished to His rule.

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

Do you feel anything holding you back from experiencing the Holy Spirit's fullness, such as unforgiveness, bitterness, or fear? Take a few minutes to ask yourself if you are 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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