Message for Sunday 26 May 2019: “Are You Spirit-ready?”

Pentecost is just two weeks way. It’s not too early to prepare for this marvelous day, which celebrates the promised, indwelling Holy Spirit.

Today’s message text (John 14:23-29) reveals Jesus’ reminder of God’s spiritual presence: “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). Jesus reassured his followers that God’s comforting, spiritual presence would empower a victorious life.

When Jesus departed earth it was a time when the Christian church was still in it its infancy, and it isn’t surprising that the early believers needed help. In response to their needs, God promised to calm troubled hearts and soothe anxious souls. Fantastic power accompanied the Holy Spirit’s arrival, so much so that subsequent generations of God’s followers are invited to claim the same energy given to those ancient disciples.

Fast-forward two thousand years and Jesus’ followers still yearn for evidence of divine power. Modern day believers like you also embrace a living faith, one through which God can accomplish great acts. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. God is in you in the form of spirit, which unites your spiritual core with that of the Almighty. You can be energized by God’s spirit in a manner that helps maximize your life and yields dramatic proof that the God you read about in the Bible is more than static words on a page.

If you ever doubt then you are not alone. People in diverse religions seek evidence of divinity in the face of a confusing and hostile world.  Christian brothers and sisters seek God’s presence amid life’s frustrations and complexities. There’s nothing wrong in wanting to experience a more palpable presence of God. Also realize that skepticism and cynicism can distract from God’s promises. Thankfully, God’s essence via the Holy Spirit can help you overcome anything that would separate you from the Almighty.

To attain the best possible spiritual life consider ramping-up your expectations and boldly claim a new way for a new day. You can receive the same Holy Spirit that Jesus promised long ago. Sure, there is lingering debate over specific miracles and whether many of the fantastic biblical events are as helpful or as necessary today as they once were. As always, don’t permit debate and uncertainties to rob you of present possibilities. Open your heart and mind to whatever God may have for you. Expect little and you’ll get it; expect much and God can overflow your expectations.

Some argue that the age of miracles is over and that it isn’t helpful to attempt miracles because it will cause frustration, encourage fraud, or simply become another distraction. Other Christians claim that the same miraculous events found in the New Testament can theoretically still occur but most people today lack the required faith. Christians will likely continue arguing about the plausibility of how certain persons can channel God to cure illnesses, wonder if believers can speak a hitherto unstudied foreign language (speaking in tongues), or if it’s possible to perform any other of the Bible’s many miracles. However you feel about all this please don’t allow controversy over theological doctrine          to rob you of God’s blessings.

Determine to manage any doubt and fear so that they won’t choke your spiritual life.  Don’t like the idea of outward, showy miracles? No problem. Realize that God’s spiritual presence provides priceless peace of mind and soul serenity, which are inward miracles outsiders might not recognize. Prepare yourself as a willing vessel, shaped like clay, so that the divine potter who made you will pour blessings as much as you can handle. Even if you don’t expect the same miracles as the early Christians you needn’t lack anything; you have God’s magnificent love and truth. The greatest miracle hasn’t changed in over two-thousand years: God’s gift of redemption.

Even seasoned Christians who grew up in the church can discover new depths of exuberance through God’s Holy Spirit. There’s something about embracing God’s presence that stimulates rekindled enthusiasm. The key for people both inside and outside the church is to hunger and thirst for God and cultivate a life renewal. Are you ready? Your ability to move forward is limited only by your decision to partner with God. Choose wisely and reap the joy of a vibrant spiritual life.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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