Holy Spirit

David Watson used to tell the story of the Sunday school class who had been learning the Creed and then one morning they came into church to recite it in front of the whole congregation. The teacher motioned to the first child who walked up to the microphone and said in a confident voice: ‘I believe in God the Father.’ The second child continued, ‘I believe in God the Son.’ Then there was an awkward and prolonged silence until eventually a small voice piped up from the back, ‘Please Miss, the boy who believes in the Holy Spirit isn’t here today.’ – This story sums up the current problem in many of our churches… the person who believes in the ministry of the Holy Spirit isn’t here today!

Source: adapted from All I Want is You by Sandy Millar p.34-35

Jesus compared the Holy Spirit to the wind (John 3:8). Like the wind, the Holy Spirit is always flowing. To be filled with the Holy Spirit simply means that we live our lives like a ship with a sail. When our sail is up, we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, direct our life, and lead us where he wants us to go, to become who he wants us to be, and to do what he wants us to do. Our sail comes down through unrepentant sin, unbelief, clinging to lies rather than truth, foolish doctrine, and bad life decisions, all of which “quench the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:19). Be filled with the Holy Spirit. Put your sail up. Repent, believe, read your Bible, pray, submit, and be in community with God’s people. In this way, God will fill you, lead you, guide you, and empower you… Without the Holy Spirit, Christianity becomes nothing but a list of dos and don’ts. You either live a decent life and become proud as a result, or you fail to measure up and fall into despair. Neither result leads to the kind of humble joy that comes from the Holy Spirit.

Mark Driscoll

Source: Mark Driscoll, ‘The Boy Who Is Lord’ devotional, day 30 of 45, YouVersion

Nicky Gumbel, author of the Alpha Course, maintains that all Christians should be completely overwhelmed by, immersed in and plunged into the Spirit of God. He likens the experience sometimes to be like a hard dry sponge being dropped into water. – There can be a hardness in our lives, which stops us absorbing the Spirit of God. – It may take some time for the initial hardness to wear off and for the sponge to be filled. You see it is one thing for the sponge to be in the water, it’s another for the water to be in the sponge. But when the sponge is filled the water literally pours out of it. – Same with a Spirit filled Christian, the presence of God the Holy Spirit flows out from them.

Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Questions of Life, 2007 edition, Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, p.123

An illustration using a glove: If this glove represents our house or temple (our body) you’ll see that by itself it’s empty, pointless; lifeless. It might look nice in appearance on the outside but if the glove is not used for the purpose for which it was created, it’s useless; a wasted life. We were created to glorify God. When we accept Jesus and become a Christian the Holy Spirit comes and dwells with us. To demonstrate, the Holy Spirit is like my hand that fills the glove (place hand inside) and now the glove is full of life it can fulfil the purpose for which it was created.

Why is it, then, when it comes to knowing God and our being filled with the Spirit, that we so often settle for less than we should; we settle for a part filling! It’s because we get so distracted and preoccupied with other things, worries and concerns that we end up quashing the Spirit, ignoring Him or treating Him as an occasional visitor rather than the owner/occupier. Like living in the same house as someone but hardly ever seeing each other or talking together, and then when you do finally get to communicate there’s a distance between you… until, that is, you reinvest the time needed to renew your relationship.

R. Ian Seymour

When we become dry, spiritually, what we need is a good soak: Like having a hot bath, we need to soak in God’s presence for a while and become drenched; totally immersed in the Spirit. You know how a houseplant left in a pot and allowed to dry out for too long, how the soil shrinks and cracks and becomes hard, like baked clay? And then when you pour water on it, the soil is so dry it just runs straight off. Sometimes Christians get like that… Oh, they don’t mean to – they just neglect to drink the living water and become so dry that church, prayer, Bible time, just touches the surface and runs off without making any real difference. If that’s you, what you need is a really good soak in God’s presence for a while, to be drenched and totally immersed in the Spirit.

R. Ian Seymour

One Christmas morning during my childhood, my parents came downstairs and began handing out the presents from under the tree. One for my brother, Tony, one for Steven, one for Chris, another one for Tony, one for Mum, another one for Chris and so it went on, as the pile of gifts under the tree diminished rapidly. It seemed that everyone else had something, some even had two or three, but there was nothing for me. In actual fact, my parents had been saving the best gift, my present, until last. When they saw me becoming more and more despondent, the ceremony around the tree was put on hold, and I was taken by the hand to the garage where my gift, the biggest of them all, was waiting for me. My very first bicycle!

The fact is every member of the body of Christ has been given some spiritual gift. If you think you have been overlooked in that department think again. Often our gifts are there all the time; hidden perhaps, dormant maybe, but nevertheless they are there waiting for you to get involved. And often it seems the case, to me at least, that the longer you search for your gifts the bigger they are when you finally discover them. – R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential

Profile of the Lukewarm: Would you describe yourself as totally in love with Jesus Christ? Or do the words half-hearted, lukewarm, and partially committed fit better? The Bible says to test ourselves, so I am going to offer you a description of what lukewarm people can look like. As you read these examples, I encourage you to take a searching, honest look at who you are now, and how you are living today.

Lukewarm people:

  • Attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians” do, so they go.
  • Give money to charity and to the church… as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so.
  • Desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions than what God thinks of their hearts and lives.
  • Don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin.
  • Are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers.
  • Rarely share their faith with their neighbours, co-workers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion.
  • Gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street.
  • Say they love Jesus, and He is a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, money, thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives.
  • Love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength.
  • Love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves.

How many of these “lukewarm traits” resonated with how you’re living your own life? Pray for God to work on softening your heart, then choose one specific trait to work on (and pray on) throughout this week. – Francis Chan

Source: Francis Chan, ‘Crazy Love’ devotional, day 4, YouVersion Bible app

God’s desire is for the believer to overflow with Himself; that we might… ‘Be filled with all the fullness of God (cf. Ephesians 3v19). A glass is only full when it overflows. Fullness can only be measured by overflow. God wants us to be so filled with Himself by the Holy Spirit that we overflow to others.

Having the Holy Spirit is not enough; the Holy Spirit must also have us. God will not take control of our lives by force! We have the Spirit to help us but we can still suppress or quash the Holy Spirit.

Some years ago, when I was a fairly new Christian, I attended a meeting in which people were seeking an experience with God; an encounter, a manifestation, an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit – something tangible.

We were at Spring Harvest at Minehead. I witnessed a lot of people being ‘touched’ by God in what seemed to be a profound way and I really wanted to experience this for myself, to see if it was really true and to receive some sort of supernatural evidence or proof, if you like. I went forward during the prayer ministry time and then waited to receive whatever God wanted to give me. I stood there, hands outstretched and waited… and waited. Nothing happened! All around me people seemed to be encountering God and dropping to the floor or shaking or laughing or praising God. Something wonderful seemed to be happening to them but I just stood there… Nothing! I felt the loneliest I think I have ever felt in my life. Abandoned, rejected, alone, not worthy – not like the others around me, a second-class Christian, forsaken. As a result of that experience my faith was shaken to the very core as I considered that God loved others and was willing to “bless” them, but not me. I remember standing there for all of half of an hour, with tears occasionally rolling down my cheeks, before I reluctantly returned to my seat feeling utterly sad, rejected and despondent.

For the next few days I had a real crisis of faith. I began to think Christianity was false; that it was all hype; that people were just kidding themselves and I’d allowed myself to get sucked in to something that wasn’t real. It was a dark time. I felt lost and didn’t even want to be there anymore… but my family did. The only thing that I held on to, and that gave me hope, is that Suzanne had been touched and she had experienced what others had. And I know my wife; she wouldn’t lie about something like that.

Three days later, the same session – Receiving from the Holy Spirit – was scheduled again in the evening, and I went along again desperately hoping that I might receive from the Holy Spirit. The same thing happened. Lots of other people were being ‘touched’ but I just stood there. Nothing! Again, I went back to my seat wondering where I go from here. But then, sat there in the quietness and solitude of my ‘rejection’, and I think for the first time in my Christian life, I became aware of why it is that the Holy Spirit is also known as the Counsellor or Comforter, who Jesus promised, “will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26). As I sat there I heard the same words that Jesus spoke to Thomas, “blessed are those who believe and have not seen.”

The Comforter was saying to me, “You don’t need to experience supernatural signs and wonders to believe and know that I love you.” And I was able to answer honestly, “No, Lord. I don’t. Even if you never reveal yourself to me in that way, I believe.” Everything that needs to happen has already happened. That’s why Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.”

I didn’t experience a slaying in the Spirit, as others seemed to do, but when the Counsellor came with those words of comfort, and I came to the point of realisation that I didn’t need to actually see to believe… well, let me tell you, I experienced such an overwhelming sense of joy, peace, blessed assurance and the weightiness or heaviness of God’s presence. It was palpable. Truly, it’s not seeing is believing it’s the other way around, believing is seeing! – Interesting: in Hebrew the word “glory” comes from the same root as the word “weighty”, God’s glory is his weightiness.

The amazing part of all of this is that it was Easter. We had been hearing all week a message of encouragement and hope. I still remember the strap line: It might be Friday but Sunday is coming. As I marvelled in God’s grace and mercy once again, I reflected on the previous three days of doubt and despair. I figured that I knew how the disciples must have felt when Jesus was killed and all their hopes and dreams were extinguished in a day. Suddenly a thought hit me like a bolt out of the blue… and I remember laughing in marvellous wonder… (At Spring Harvest you tend to lose track of what day of the week it is because the programme is all geared up as Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.) But it suddenly hit me…. The first evening when I went for prayer and nothing happened it was Friday, Good Friday, and three days later when the Comforter came to me; it was Easter Sunday, resurrection day. And once again I was reminded that it might be Friday but Sunday is coming.

R. Ian Seymour

Paul says, “If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ” (Romans 8:9). So every Christian has the Spirit and yet not every Christian is filled with the Spirit. Paul wrote to the Christians at Ephesus saying, ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). It needs to be said that the Holy Spirit is already present in every believer’s life, but there are levels of indwelling. Some people live at home just a few days a month, others all the time. There are levels of indwelling. And Paul uses the present tense: ‘be filled with the Spirit’ to indicate the infilling of the Holy Spirit is not a once for all experience, but that we are to go on being filled, over and over again.

So what is the difference between someone who is a Christian and someone who is a Christian and is full of the Holy Spirit? Nicky Gumbel shares a good illustration that might help us understand. Years ago most gas boilers had a pilot light that was on all the time – some still have pilot lights. But the boiler is not always giving out heat and power. Some Christians have only got the pilot light of the Holy Spirit in their lives, whereas when people are filled with the Holy Spirit it’s like the gas is released and then WHOOSH!, they begin to fire on all cylinders if you will forgive my mixing metaphors! When you look at them you can almost see and feel the difference.

Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Questions of Life, 2007 edition, Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, p.143.

Are you hollow and running on empty or are you seeking to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit? Sometimes, hollow people pretend everything is okay; sometimes they kid themselves and others that they are something, when really they are not. Like the very large man who stepped on some public weighing scales, not realising they were out of order. He put his coin into the machine and watched the dial spin round to 32 kilos (5 stones) and stop. The next person in the queue smiled and said, “You must be hollow!” Some people are like that; they pretend they are okay, and in appearances everything seems fine on the outside, but on the inside they’re hollow, spiritually; they’re running on empty!

So let me ask you this: Do you suppose God wants us to be hollow (like a glove) or filled with His Spirit? And do you suppose God wants us to be partially filled or fully filled to overflowing? And does God want us to be filled just one time, at conversion, or does He want us to go on being filled, topped up if you like? You know if you want to receive more of the Holy Spirit, just keep going back and asking the Father for more. Jesus encouraged us to do this; He said: “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11v11-13) – God intended for the Holy Spirit to be extremely active in believer’s lives, communicating His will and purposes to us, so that we might live lives that honour and glorify God. But God is a gentleman; he won’t force His presence on us. He wants to be invited and welcomed into our daily lives.

R. Ian Seymour

Unborn children in the womb are so united to their mothers by the umbilical cord, that what affects the mother affects the baby. Though mother and child are separate individuals, you can accurately say that the baby is in the mother and the mother in the child. – And this is like a picture of the union that has taken place between God and the believer.

Source: Neil Anderson & Rich Miller, Getting Anger Under Control, 2002, Oregon USA: Harvest House, p.115

Receiving the Holy Spirit. If you throw a damp piece of wood in the fire it sizzles as the dampness is burnt off and evaporates, and that, if you like, symbolises the purifying of God. Attendees of the Alpha Course are taught that the experience is different for everyone… when people receive the Holy Spirit there is often – not always but often – some form of physical manifestation. All that can be said is that the Holy Spirit is predictably unpredictable. It’s not one size fits all, and for each person the manifestation can be a different experience. God is not in the business of off the peg. He is in the business of tailor made. When people are filled with the Holy Spirit…

  • Some people have felt warmth or heat in their hands.
  • Some shake like a leaf in the wind or they quake (it’s how the Quakers got their name.)
  • Others rock to and fro as the ruach of God, the breath or wind of the Spirit ministers to them.
  • Some experience the ‘weightiness’ of God’s love, maybe in their hands or feet. Often people feel the need to sit or lie down and just bathe or drink in the love of God.
  • Some have experienced what they call a glowing feeling all over; a liquid heat or ‘a mild burning sensation in my arms when I wasn’t cold’ – often it coming in waves.
  • Tears are another regular manifestation, even though people may not feel particularly happy or sad… and sighing or breathing deeply; like breathing in the Spirit.
  • If someone has been profoundly troubled or wounded they can sometimes moan or wail as they receive the Spirit, and He minsters to their pain.
  • Another frequent manifestation is a sort of tingling sensation in shorts bursts, similar to a mild electric current passing through your body.
  • Or an overwhelming sense and assurance of God’s love.
  • And very often the manifestation is the holy presence and peace of God resting on us.

Sometimes critics have suggested that explaining how the Spirit manifests Himself to people is autosuggestion; that people are psychologically conditioned and so that’s why they experience what they do. Well autosuggestion or not the fact is it happens; people encounter with God the Holy Spirit and the end result is that people’s lives are changed forever.

D. L. Moody, a famous American preacher of the nineteenth century, was once asked if he had been filled with the Spirit. ‘Yes’, he replied, ‘but I leak!’ He’s not the only one – we all do! We need to keep asking God to fill us with himself.

Source: Stephen Gaukroger, First Steps: The handbook to following Christ, p.54

There’s a story told of a bodybuilder on holiday in Africa who visited a local village. Impressed by his size the tribal chief asked him what he did with all his muscles. Rather than explain verbally the bodybuilder decided to demonstrate how he performed in competitions, and so he took off his shirt and began to strut his stuff with various poses all the time flexing his bulging muscles. It was an awesome sight but after a few minutes the chief looked puzzled and asked,

“What else do you use your muscles for?”

“Well, that’s about it,” replied the body builder.

“You mean that’s all you use your muscles for; just for showing off? asked the chief.

“Yep,” replied the bodybuilder.

The chief nodded his head in bewilderment. “What a waste!” he said as he turned to walk away.

Source: Adapted from Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets p.142-143

Nicky Gumbel relates how Robbie Williams, the pop star, once went on a shopping spree in Los Angeles. He bought seven cars, including a brand new Ferrari, a brand new Porsche and a brand new Mercedes. Within a week he wished he had not bought any of them. I admire Robbie Williams’ openness about himself. He is ruthlessly honest about his self-obsession and addictions. In his song, Feel, he sings:

I just want to feel real love…

There’s a hole in my soul

You can see it in my face

It’s a real big place.

God implants this desire ‘to feel real love’ in humanity. This ‘hole in my soul’ is common to all human beings. It cannot be filled by cars, wealth, success or drugs. It is a God-shaped hole. It is a spiritual hunger and thirst. Jesus said that if we come to him and drink, he will satisfy this spiritual thirst by giving us the Holy Spirit to live within us (John 7:37).

Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year – Alpha, Day 132

In Scripture the Holy Spirit is sometimes described like a dove. And like a dove the Holy Spirit is sensitive. R.T. Kendall tells the story of ‘a British couple sent by their church to be missionaries in Israel some years ago. They were given a home to live in near Jerusalem. After being there a few weeks, they noticed that a dove had come to live in the eaves of their roof in their home. They were thrilled. But they also noticed that the dove would fly away every time they would slam a door or get into an argument with each other. “How do you feel about the dove?” the husband asked his wife. “It is like a seal from the Lord on our being in Israel,” she replied. “But have you noticed that every time we slam a door or start shouting at each other, the dove flies away?”“Yes, and I am so afraid the dove will fly away and not come back,” she said. “Either the dove adjusts to us, or we adjust to the dove,” the man concluded. They both knew that the dove was not going to adjust to them. They mutually agreed: they would adjust to the dove. That decision changed their lives. Just to keep a bird at their home! The dove is a shy sensitive bird. But the Holy Spirit, depicted as a dove in each on the four Gospels is a thousand times more sensitive than a turtle dove.

“You may know what it is like for the Holy Spirit to come down on you. The problem is He doesn’t stay. He doesn’t remain. He apparently flies away. When the Holy Spirit comes down on you there is nothing like it in the world. The peace. The joy. You want time to stop. But the sense of His presence doesn’t seem to last. It is not that the Holy Spirit leaves us. He doesn’t. Jesus promised that He would abide forever (John 14:16). So let’s be clear about this: the Holy Spirit never leaves us. The Dove illustration is a metaphor: the Dove only seems to fly away. He seems to lift. It is therefore the sense of God that appears to lift from us. When the Dove lifts – although the Spirit never leaves you, the anointing diminishes. That is, the sense of His presence is gone… for the time being, at least.

RT Kendall. Holy Fire, 2014, Florida: Charisma House, p.79-81

Nicky Gumbel suggests there are many doubts people have in this whole area of being filled with the Spirit, the principal one being: ‘If I ask will I receive?’ Jesus simply says (Matthew 7:7-8): ‘I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you.’ Jesus must have seen that they were a little sceptical because he repeats it in a different way: ‘Seek and you will find.’ And again he says a third time: ‘Knock and the door will be opened to you.’ He knows human nature and so he goes on a fourth time: ‘For everyone who asks receives.’ They are not convinced so he says a fifth time: ‘He who seeks finds.’ Again a sixth time: ‘To him who knocks, the door will be opened.’ Why does Jesus say it six times? Because He knows what we are like. We find it difficult to believe God would give us anything – let alone something as unusual and wonderful as his Holy Spirit and the gifts that come with the Spirit.

Nicky Gumbel, Alpha Questions of Life, 2007 edition, Eastbourne: Kingsway Communications, p.154.

Our God-given spiritual gifts are not to be used for selfish advantage or to draw attention or credit to ourselves but to serve the church. Our spiritual gifts are given to us for the good of the whole church. They are not for individual enjoyment, but for corporate employment.

Source: Adapted from Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets p.142-143

John Pritchard says: “The problem is that we all leak. The image of a football in the corner of my study tells the same story. Because it has a puncture it is partly deflated and therefore whenever it is kicked its shape is distorted: if it were punted down the field it would sink to the ground without a bounce. If the puncture were to be repaired, however, and new air blown into it, the football would resist the kicks and be full of bounce. It would be what it’s meant to be. In the same way, Christians, full of the Spirit, would become the followers Christ invites them to be. Of course, this is the ideal; we are all punctured to some degree or other, but ‘fresh air’ is always available.”

John Pritchard, Living Faithfully, 2013, SPCK London, p.13

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work” (1 Corinthians 12v4-6). Same Spirit, same Lord, same God: these verses – reflecting the Trinity – show the diversity and unity of the different kinds of spiritual gifts. In the church there is meant to be unity in diversity. Just as the Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is a community in diversity, so is the Christian church; we are a community in diversity. In the Church our unity means that our diversity does not become division. And our diversity means that our unity does not become uniformity.

I heard about an aged couple who had to have their old gas boiler replaced. They’d had it for years and it was rather antique, the sort where the pilot light was on all the time but the boiler was not always giving out heat or power. Some Christians are like that: They only have the pilot light of the Holy Spirit in their lives, but when God’s people are filled with the Spirit they begin to fire on all cylinders (if you will forgive me mixing metaphors!).

The problem with a lot of Christians is not that they don’t have the Spirit it’s that the Spirit doesn’t have them. The instruction Paul gives to Christians in Ephesians 5v18 is ‘be filled with the Spirit’. It is a passive command in the present tense meaning, it is a continuous action. You don’t get filled today and expect it to cover you tomorrow, just like you won’t eat Sunday dinner later and expect it to carry you over to next Sunday. [Why do we need to be continually filled? Because we leak!] Being filled with the Spirit is a dynamic and ongoing experience – it’s what talking to God, reading your Bible, fellowship and prayer is all about.

Tony Evans

Tony Evans, Time To Get Serious, 1995, Wheaton Illinois, Crossway Books, p.254

The more time we spend in God’s presence the more of His presence remains with us. It’s like being in a room full of sweet smelling fragrance. The longer we remain the more of the perfume permeates our clothing, our skin and even our hair (if we have any, that is)!

The gospel is not all pie in the sky when you die… there’s also meat on the plate while you wait! – When Jesus announced the good news of the kingdom, he was talking about the IN-BREAKING and DYNAMIC rule of God to set all things right, he was not just talking about what would happen after people died. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” – The gospel is not just a promissory note; it’s not all future benefits. Christians are also meant to enjoy wonderful and abundant life now. And we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us and empower us.

When we first become a Christian we receive the Holy Spirit as part of the salvation gift package. The presence of God the Holy Spirit resides in us. Henry Blackaby asks: but what does the Holy Spirit do? Maybe you’d like to read John’s Gospel, in particular chapters 14 to 16: Here Jesus promised His disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them in the same way that Jesus had. “I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever” (John 14v16). He said, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you in all truth” (John 16v13); Jesus also said the Holy Spirit would:

  • Convict them of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16v8);
  • Prepare them for things to come (16v13);
  • The Holy Spirit would glorify Christ, take what He heard from the heavenly Father and share it with them (16v14-15);
  • And bring to their remembrance what Jesus had said (John 14v26).
  • And Romans 8v26 says: the Spirit will also help us in our weakness. He will help believers to pray.

God intended for the Holy Spirit to be extremely active in believer’s lives, communicating His will and purposes to us. Not only that, but the Holy Spirit gives spiritual gifts in abundance to God’s people. Several of these spiritual gifts are listed in Romans 12 (v6-8), 1 Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 4 (v1-13) – however, these lists are not meant to be exhaustive but illustrative of God’s abundance in giving gifts of the Holy Spirit to edify and build His church. – As a working definition: a spiritual gift is a manifestation of the Holy Spirit enabling a person to minister to the needs of Christ’s body, the church.

Henry Blackaby, 2008, Experiencing God, Nashville Tennessee: B&H Publishing, p.138

We are never alone unless we want to be, because God is never further than a thought away.

By his Holy Spirit, the Lord wants to work in us (Philippians 2:13), through us (Mark 16:20), and for us (Romans 8:28).

What does the Holy Spirit do? The Holy Spirit is often depicted as tongues or flames of fire, such as happened on the day of Pentecost. Fire warms and comforts us. – The Holy Spirit warms us and comforts us. Fire provides power – think of a locomotive (a massive chunk of metal) powered by steam – the Holy Spirit empowers us. Fire cleanses and purifies – so does the Spirit. Fire gives light to see – so does the Spirit. Fire is attractive – so is the Spirit.

Are you feeling dry, spiritually? Are you burnout or feeling disconnected from church? Are you fed up and tired to the bone of waiting for God? Heidi Baker in her book, ‘Birthing the Miraculous’, writes: “Jesus never makes you tired. He never burns us out. He longs for us to burn continuously with fiery passion and love for Him and for the lost. If you feel tired and burned out, run back to the secret place.” Heidi tells how she was feeling burnt out and God gave her a prophetic picture of a chicken and an eagle. The chicken was running around in circles in the dirt. It flapped and flapped and ran around in circles… but a chicken simply cannot fly. The strangest things about chickens, is that even if their heads are cut off, they don’t know they are dead. They just keep flapping and running around in circles. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the needs of others around us that we don’t even notice we are dead and have been separated from our head, Christ Jesus.

Heidi Baker, Birthing the Miraculous, 2014, Florida: Charisma House, p197-8

Bill Hybels comments: ‘No doubt you’ve seen a picture of Michelangelo’s most famous painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, “The Creation of Adam,” in which he portrays God and Adam with their hands outstretched toward one another. God is leaning and straining towards Adam, and His fingertip almost touches Adam’s hand, which is more relaxed, not nearly as intent on its mission.

Now imagine Adam’s hand reaching out another six inches, grabbing firmly hold of God’s hand, and hanging on to it tightly. That image captures the single biggest [replenisher] in my life: being firmly hand-in-hand with God.’

Bill Hybels, Simplify, 2014, London: Hodder & Stoughton, p.17-18