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Sunday Message for 22 May 2022: “Ready Spirit”

Pentecost arrives soon and it’s not too early to prepare for God’s spirit (John 14: 23-29). “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 vulnerable followers that God’s presence would embolden them.

When Jesus departed earth it was a time when the Christian church was in its infancy. Therefore it isn’t surprising that the early believers needed divine help. In response to their needs, God pledged to calm troubled hearts and soothe anxious souls. Fantastic power accompanied this promise such that subsequent generations trust in similar treatment.

Fast-forward two thousand years and Jesus’ followers still expect evidence of divine power. Modern day believers also embrace a living faith, one through which God can accomplish much in willing disciples. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your struggles. God indwells you via spirit and you can be energized in a manner that maximizes life.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking evidence of divinity in the face of a confusing and hostile world. People of faith seek God’s presence amid life’s frustrations. Skepticism and cynicism can distract from God’s promises but it is worth the struggle to overcome whatever stands between you and fulfillment. Thankfully, God can help you overcome destructive distractions and weak expectations.

Some Christians argue that the age of side-show, spirit-generated miracles is over. They claim that it isn’t helpful to mimic biblical stories because God is not obligated to repeat this type of history. Reading the Bible and getting a sense of entitlement to perform the same events is wrong, they say, because it arouses frustration, encourages fraud, and becomes another distraction. God is alive they joyfully reassert but it isn’t helpful to wave your hands pursuing biblical miracles.

Other folks claim that the same miraculous events in the New Testament still occur. Defenders of literal duplication of biblical stories argue that God is just as powerful now as then, and that it simply takes faith to unleash miracles. They claim that certain people can, for example, channel God to cure illnesses and speak an unstudied language (the controversial behavior of glossolalia, also known as speaking in tongues). Some go so far to say that you can’t confirm your status as a Christian until and unless you demonstrate spiritual gifts.

Partisans on both sides of the spirit/miracle debate continue arguing. However you feel about all this please don’t allow controversy over theology or doctrine to rob you of God’s blessings. Determine to manage any doubts or negative attitudes so that nothing weakens your resolve to live positively in the present.

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 seldom recognize. Prepare yourself as a willing vessel, shaped like living clay, so that the divine potter who made you will pour blessings into your life, 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 which surpass parlor tricks and self-delusional behavior. The greatest miracle hasn’t changed in over two-thousand years: God’s gift of redemption. People can stand on their heads and wave their hands frantically in the air but it is all meaningless unless God is the Lord of your life.

There’s something special about God’s presence that stimulates interest in spirituality. Even for folks who’ve been in the church for decades there’s revitalization potential. The key is to hunger and thirst for God. Your ability to move forward is limited only by your decision to embrace the Almighty. Invite God to help you reap the joys of a more vibrant life.

Consider ramping-up your aspirations and boldly claim a new way for a new day. Don’t permit debate and uncertainties to rob you of present possibilities. You may not have prophetic gifts to predict the future or a healing hand raise the dead but I guarantee that you have the most awesome force in the universe: God. Therefore open your heart and mind to whatever the Lord has for you. Expect little and you’ll get it; expect much and God may exceed your expectations.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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