"I am going to send you what My Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on High."- Luke 24:49
After several years I was finally able to accomplish something Joanie had been pestering me about for years (or to make it sound nicer, graciously asking me to take care). For her it was a concern, an annoyance, and a visible distraction. It wasn't a bad habit I had developed since marriage or a promise to redo the backyard that kept being put off until the next Saturday. It was two projects that needed some serious addressing, especially with the chance of 2016 being an "El Nino" year. We were long overdue for the driveway to be redone and for the outside of the house to be painted. The evidence of erosion became more visible day by day. From cracks in the paint to loose rubble, we were needing this home project to be checked off our task list. In January the jobs were completed and the transformation has been staggering. In many ways it's as if we are living in a totally new home. The outside of the house is glistening from the new paint and the driveway is now sturdy.
In the same way our house was transformed by these two projects, there is something to remember, look forward to, and seek in prayer as we come out of the Easter season. We must remember that we need the Holy Spirit to fill our lives in a fresh and powerful way! We needed Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. We needed Jesus to rise from the grave to defeat the power of death over our lives. And we needed the promise and gift of the Holy Spirit to come to us so we could be set apart for God in worship, in witness, and in service. For those first followers of Jesus the next "BIG" event after the resurrection comes in Acts 2, on the Day of Pentecost, as they are all given the Holy Spirit. It is that very moment that they are equipped with an unparalleled boldness and ability. The way they would follow God, love others, speak, and be used to bring God's kingdom is ramped up and radically more, because of this power encounter that takes place POST-EASTER. As Jesus said in John 14:12, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in Me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father."
My prayer for us is that we would not forget our daily need for the Spirit's work in our lives. That we would follow His guidance, be comforted by His presence, be stirred up by His voice, and be filled to overflowing by His power. It is quite interesting to me that the Church at large and even the world focuses on the forty days on the calendar leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus with a remembrance called Lent. This is a time to remember our Savior's great sacrifice and the living hope we have in Him. Some participate in this time by attending church more frequently; some cut out a portion of food from their diet; while others will forsake something important in their lives over that time period as a symbol of denial. This time is definitely worthwhile, and something I have participated in and encourage other to do as well. However, what I have noticed is that there is much less attention given to the event that comes fifty days after the resurrection called PENTECOST. This fifty day period from the day Jesus rose from the grave to the day the disciples are filled in the Upper Room (Acts 2) does not have much fanfare or focus in the Christian community. Yet, what I want us to see clearly and walk out faithfully in these days following Easter, is our need for the FULLNESS of the Spirit is just as real today as it was when the disciples waited for it back then.
Paul writes in Galatians 5:25, "Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." There are areas in each of our lives that are like my driveway and the outside paint that need our attention, that need focused labor, and that need a major change. As believers we struggle with various weaknesses such as fear, giving place to lust, hunger for money, a bitter heart of unforgiveness, a desire to be people-pleasing, and insecurity that keeps us from being a "light" to others. May this season be marked by us hearing the caring voice of the Holy Spirit calling our names, pointing out our needs, and offering Himself to enter into our lives in such a way that we are made NEW! May our hearts cry out to the Lord in prayer for a welcoming this fresh work of the Spirit, "Holy Spirit come. Holy Spirit move. Holy Spirit guide. Holy Spirit empower. Holy Spirit fill."