Friday, June 21, 2019

"Keep Being Filled"

When you believed and trusted in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord you were saved from sin and forgiven. At that moment most theologians would agree that the Holy Spirit came to abide or live with and in you. ‘“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the 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.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see Me anymore, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you”’ (John 14:15-20).  The person of the Holy Spirit is a gift of God to be your Counselor, guide and teacher of the truth.  Paul told the Ephesians to “Keep being filled” by the Spirit. This is a continual filling that takes place as we are emptied of ourselves and indwelt by the Spirit. This means more of Him and less of me. It is like being a container filled with rocks and then water. As the rocks (sins) are removed more and more water can be poured into the container until overflowing.

The flowing of the Holy Spirit is what Jesus tells, “Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow within him”  (John 7:38).  Again in the story of the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus says, ‘“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life”’  (John 4:13-14). I have a painting of these verses of bubbling springs rushing from the earth. This image reminds me of one of my favorite fishing trips to the “Driftless Area” of Wisconsin where glaciers carved out deep valleys and high moraines throughout the Southwestern part of the state. Here artesian brooks bubble up from the limestone, cold from deep within the earth.  Pure spring waters bring watercress and native trout to flourish. The almost magical region is heavily forested with a patchwork of fields dotting the landscape primarily farmed by Amish plows pulled by teams of horses. The clip-clop of horse-drawn carts echo down the curvy valley roads. There is a peacefulness here that transcends understanding. It is the peacefulness that David’s Psalm 23 refers to saying, “He makes me to lie down in green pastures and leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.”  I am not good at resting so like many, God makes me rest in the beauty of His creation. But He restores, renews, and revitalizes me there. There “my cup overflows.”  Yes, this is where my life overflows with God’s passion and peace. Matthew 12:34 says “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” That is what I am doing right now.

The Apostle Paul opened his second book to the Corinthians by telling them of the “God of compassion and the Lord of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles…For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comforts overflow”  (2 Corinthians 1:3,5). God wants us to be filled with His Holy Spirit of comfort and to overflow with Him in prayers and praises through His Holy Spirit. I have had the privilege of having the Holy Spirit fill me totally to overflowing several times. Because The Holy Spirit is alive and active He comes in times of need.

I have related a story in my book, Great is God’s Faithfulness, of how I had become overwhelmed by tick-borne illness to a point where physicians from a prestigious medical school told me that they believed that I was going to succumb to parasitic diseases. My joints were frozen, I was unable to walk. A fever over 100 racked my body for several weeks, bringing migraine-like headaches. In delusional fear, I called out to God through His word in Psalm 103 saying, “Praise the Lord, O my soul and forget not all His benefits. Who forgives all your sins and who heals all your diseases, who lifts your life from the pit…”  As I prayed His Word, a hot feeling starting at my head, pushing through to my feet.  The warmth felt like the oil of overflowing love. Immediately after it sourced through me, I was overwhelmed with joy. I jumped out of bed yelling, “I’m healed,” and I was, totally. It was clear that God’s Holy Spirit had overwhelmed me with His power taking away all things not of God. His power was made perfect in my weakness.

It was three years ago on Pentecost that the Holy Spirit came down with His hot and healing power again. I was leading a large church through what was a very destructive implosion that had ousted the three other clergy, leaving me with a diminished and torn congregation where many had vacated in anger and others stayed in pain. I remained under the trial to be the healer. But the stress was too much for me, bringing deep depression and totally overwhelming effects on many others and me. As I stood at the front of the church while the Pentecost story from Acts was being read, the powerful warmth of God’s hand fell upon me again from head to toe like a hot oil running all over me. I was being drenched and anointed in the Holy Spirit. My body perspired through my clothes, but I also had an transcending sense of joy and clarity. The fear and the darkness vanished. I told the guest pastor standing next to me when she asked if I was all right that the Spirit of God through His spoken word had healed me again. This joy and strength has remained upon me. God has further anointed me to write it down and tell the world. That is just what I have done starting a blog and publishing books to praise the Lord: Great is God’s Faithfulness; This is The Way, Walk in it (Vol. I&II); and Hospital Parables: “Front Office to Bedside.”  My blog is read around the world with Ukraine having the most readers outside the United States. I don’t believe that this would have been possible except through the power of the Holy Spirit filling me with wisdom. “Keep being filled.”

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