Today is the 43rd day that we have been counting the omer.

I’m reminded today of an account we find in Acts 19:2-6 (CJB). Paul has just arrived in Ephesus and met with a few disciples. “He asked them ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to trust.’ ‘No,’ they said to him, ‘we have never even heard that there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit.’ ‘In that case,’ he said, ‘into what were you baptized?’ ‘The baptism of John,’ they answered. Paul said, ‘John practiced a baptism in connection with turning from sin to God; but he told the people to put their trust in the one who would come after him, that is, Yeshua’. On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Yeshua; and when Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; so that they began speaking in languages and prophesying.”

These folks were followers of the teachings of God and were conducting themselves in a righteous manner. They were keeping the commandments and had turned away from their sins against God. Now Paul entered the picture and discovered that although they were really good people and were trusting in God, they had never heard that the Messiah Yeshua had come. He asked them a huge question, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you came to trust?” Another translation (KJV) wrote it this way, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?

I think this is the question that God wants us to ask ourselves today. Jesus told His disciples to stay put in Jerusalem until they were baptized with the Holy Spirit so that they would be empowered to do the will of the Father. So many times, we find ourselves spiritually anemic, not having the power or maybe even the desire to accomplish what Jesus commanded us to do. Sometimes we make excuses for ourselves saying that it is not our personality to do or say certain things about our relationship with God. And certainly, God gave each one of us our personalities so that we are able to reach individuals that no one else would ever be able to impact. But if we take that to the extreme and allow it to be the door behind which we hide, then we must examine ourselves to see if we really have been changed inside. Probably none of us will ever be a second Billy Graham, D.L. Moody, Billy Sunday, or any of the other great preachers of the past. However, that does not relieve us of the responsibility to be intimately involved in our Lord’s command – “Go and make disciples.” But we must know that it is not through our own power or ability that the expansion of His Kingdom is accomplished. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit! That is why it is so critical for us to completely surrender ourselves to God and ask Him to come cleanse us and fill us with His Holy Spirit! There really is no other way to do the work except through His power!!

As we expectantly look forward to Shavuot (Pentecost), I hope that the thing that has steadfastly stuck in your mind throughout these weeks of counting is that you want to have such a relationship with our God that you are excitedly carrying out His commands and looking forward to His soon-coming. I hope that your intimacy with God has blossomed into a beautiful reflection of Him. Ultimately, this is only possible through the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives!

Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?

Pastor Ann

May 24, 2020